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The War Between the Union 
and the Confederacy 



History of the i^th Alabama Regiment and 

the Forty-eight Battles in which 

it was Engaged 

Being an account of the author's experiences in the greatest conflict of 
modern times ; a justification of secession, and showing thai the Con- 
federacy should have succeeded; a criticism of President Davis, the Con- 
federate Congress and some of the general officers of the Confederate and 
Union Armies; praise of line officers and soldiers in the ranks for their 
heroism and patriotism, and including the author's observations and 
experience as Brigadier-General in 

The War Between the United States and Spain 



Colonel in the Confederate Army; Representative in the General Assembly of Alabama 
from 1870 to 1872; Representative in Congress from 1880 to 1894; Governor of 
Alabama, 189s and 1896; Brigadier-General, U. S. A., in the War 
with Spain, from May, 1898, to March, 1899; Member of the Ala- 
bama Constitutional Conventions of i8j$ and 1901, etc. 


Fifth Thousand 






Every soldier who did his whole duty to the cause of the South 
in her unprecedented war, and to each of the noble women 
who aided them, and have since the peace done so much to 
preserve the names and heroic deeds of those brave men, 
this book is respectfully dedicated by 

The Author. 




Signing of Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the 
States — Making the New Constitution — The First Eleven Amend- 
ments- — Two Distinct Types of Early Settlers — John Brown's Raid and 
the Abolitionists at the North — The Tariff a Thorn — The Charleston 
Convention — Utterances of Prominent Unionists — The Ordinance of 
Secession 25 



The Most Conclusive Statement as to Secession, That Written by Com- 
modore Maury — The New York Tribune on the Situation— As Viewed 
by the Albany Argus — From the New York Herald — The Free Press 
Gives Its Views — As Emphatically Stated by the Union, of Bangor, 
Maine — Chancellor Walworth — The Proposed Thirteenth Amendment. 40 



A General Conference and What Was Proposed to Be Done — Possibilities 
of Co-operation — Cause of the Loss of Kentucky, Missouri, and Mary- 
land — Firing on Sumter the Beginning of the War — The Proposition to 
Fight Under the Old Flag — How Foreign Recognition Might Have 
Been Promoted 5 2 



Meeting of the Provisional Congress— Adoption of a Confederate Constitu- 
tion — Inauguration of President Davis — Cradle of the Confederacy — 
Transfer to Richmond — Names of All Delegates 57 




The Military Situation — McDowell Advances Upon Beauregard — First 
Battle of Manassas — The Cause of the Adoption of the Confederate 
Battle-Flag — Beauregard's Mistake — President Davis on the Field — 
Battle of Ball's Bluff— Affair at Dranesville— Winter Quarter on Bull 
Run 60 



The "Canty Rifles" — Its Inception — Electioneering by Candidates for Field 
Officers — My First Company Disbanded— Composition of Second Com- 
pany — Arrival at Fort Mitchell — All Commissions Dated July 3, 1861 — 
Organization of Companies — Composition of Regiment 67 



Learning Tactics and Drilling — Ordered to Richmond — The First Camp on 
the James — The Move to Pageland — The First Manassas Battle- 
Field — Sickness Among the Soldiers — The Measles Worse Than the 
Enemy's Bullets 74 



Second March of the Regiment— Wheat's "Tiger" Battalion— Regiment's 
Advance to Accotink Creek— Camp at Centerville— Winter Quarters 
Near Manassas Junction ™ 




The Resignation of Major Daniel — The Regiment Denied the Right to 
Elect His Successor — Evacuation of Manassas and Centerville — 
Unnecessary Sacrifice of Stores — Halted at Rappahannock — Heintzle- 
man's Advance — Recruits to the Regiment — Scarcity of Rations — Bad 
Weather — Sickness Among the Men — Starvation Times 85 



Ewell's Division a Part of "Stonewall" Jackson's Army — March to Gor- 
donsville — To Stanardsville — Cross the Blue Ridge to Hawksbill 
Valley Near the Shenandoah River — The Country and the Pretty 
Girls 92 



The Affair at Front Royal — Ashby's Cavalry Charge a Regiment — Saving 
a Burning Bridge — The Battle of Winchester — Pursuit of Banks — The 
Fifteenth on a Two-mile Run Before Breakfast — An Incident During 
a Halt 96 



Jackson in the Valley Confronted by Three Armies — March From Win- 
chester to Strasburg — Up the Valley to Harrisonburg — The Killing of 
General Ashby — Capture of Sir Percy Wyndham — The Battles of 
Cross Keys and Port Republic — What Jackson Accomplished in His 
Valley Campaign 100 




Jackson Reenforced for a Double Purpose — McClellan as a General — 
Mistake of Lincoln and Stanton — The Situation at Norfolk and York- 
town — The Merrimac, or Virginia — Battle in Hampton Roads — 
Destruction of the Virginia — General Magruder's Engineering Skill — 
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston in Command on Peninsula Confronting 
McClellan's Army — Johnston's Retreat to Chickahominy — Battle of 
Seven Pines — Wounding of General Johnston — Colonel Lomax 
Killed — General Lee Assigned to the Command of the Army of 
Northern Virginia 107 



Jackson Receives the Order of Battle From Lee — The Fifteenth Alabama 
One of the First Under Fire — Some Casualties — A Private's Graphic 
Description of Cold Harbor — The Last Engagement of Colonel 
Canty and Lieutenant-Colonel Treutlin With the Regiment — McClellan 
Retreats Toward Harrison's Landing— Lee's Strategy — General Long 
on the Delay of "Stonewall" Jackson — Longstreet's Severe Strictures 
mi Frazier's Farm and Malvern Hill — Opinion of Mr. Davis.' 114 



A New Federal Army — General Pope in Command — The Battle of Cedar 
Run, or Slaughter's Mountain — The "Little Napoleon" — Jackson's 
Shrewd Move 128 



Advance of Lee's Army on Pope — Battle of Hazel River — Jackson Turns 
Pope's Right Flank and Reaches His Rear,— Bristow Station and the 
Junction — Second Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run — Taylor's Descrip- 
tion of Ewell — Isaac R. Trimble — The Fitz John Porter Case 131 




The March Arotind Pope's Army via the Little River Turnpike — Battle of 
Chantilly Farm, or Ox Hill — A Dispute as to Command — Death of 
General Kearny 149 



In Maryland — The Spirit of Volunteering Broken — Condemnation of 
Policy of Confederate Government — The Confederate Soldiers in the 
Ranks Extolled in Highest Degree — The Other Side of the Conscript 
Question — The Capture of Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry by Jack- 
son — The Loss of D. H. Hill's Order — The Battle of Sharpsburg, or 
Antietam — Disparity of Numbers — Lee a Great General, But When 
He Recrossed the Potomac Back Into Virginia for the Lack of Num- 
bers, the Decadence of the Confederacy Began 153 



An Incident of a Cold Day — About Whiskey in Miles' Gap — The Battle of 
Fredericksburg — One of the Advantages of Masonry — A Great Oppor- 
tunity Lost to the Confederates — The Advantage of Modern Inven- 
tions in War — The Reason for Not Assaulting at Night — Close of the 
Campaign of 1862 — State Brigades 164 



Transferred From Jackson's Corps to Longstreet's — Scarcity of Rations — 
Apprehension That the Next Assault on Richmond Would Be From 
the South Side — Two Divisions Sent Below Richmond — The Suffolk 
Campaign — The Duel at Suffolk — Why Longstreet Did Not Return to 
Lee's Aid in the Battle of Chancellorsville — Some Regimental 
Changes — A Pleasant Situation 174 




Hooker in Command of the Army of the Potomac-Jackson Turns 
Hooker's Flank— The Death of "Stonewall" Jackson— Stuart Requested 
by Jackson to Take Command of His Corps— Chancellorsville the Most 
Remarkable Battle of the War — Sketch of General Jackson — Lee's 
Order Announcing Jackson's Death 18 



The Invasion of Pennsylvania and Its Objects — Preparations for the Inva- 
sion — Summary of Commands in the Confederate Army of Invasion — 
Why Stuart and His Cavalry Were Not With Lee — General Long- 
street's Views — Incidents of the March Into Pennsylvania — Lee's 
Plans — The Advantage With the Confederates at the Close of the 
First Day — Two Supposed Dead Men Hold a Joyous Reunion — A 
Young Hero's Death li 



The Fifteenth Arrives Upon the Field — General Hood's Report — On Great 
Round Top— Ordered to Capture Little Round Top, if Possible- 
Vincent's Federal Brigade There \head of Me— The Fight— Some 
Federal Misstatements of Fact— Our Retreat — General Longstreet Not 
Loyal to General Lee— A Gallant Attempt to Recover Our Wounded — 
Devil's Den. 2< 



The Lessons of the Second Day's Fighting Not Heeded — The Arrival of 
Stuart, and What Was Expected of Him— The Greatest Artillery Duel 
the World Ever Knew— Pickett's Charge— The Cotton States Troops 
Versus the Border States — General Farnsworth's Attempt to Take a 
Confederate Battery— The Fifteenth Leaves the Field Without 
Orders— Awaiting An Attack— Responsibility for the Loss of the 
Battle— Some Deductions Based on Possibilities— Casualties of the 




Death of General Pettigrew — The Fifteenth Ordered to Protect the Flank 
of the Marching Column— A Lost Opportunity — We Have a Skirmish 
With Kilpatrick's Cavalry — In Camp on the Rappahannock 250 



Bragg Reenforced by Two Divisions of Longstreet's Corps — Incidents of 
the March — Beginning of the Battle — The Plan — Alone and Without 
Orders — Grossly Misrepresented in An Official Report — The Death of 
Federal General Lytle — Some Brave Boys — Aid Requested and 
Refused — A Gallant South Carolina Captain — The Fifteenth Re- 
lieved — Bragg's Failure to Pursue — Gen. A. P. Stewart's Account of 
the Battle 253 



Bragg's Effort to Starve the Union Army to Retreat or Surrender— The 
Fifteenth Ordered Into Lookout Valley— A Night Attack That Failed 
— Suspicious Appearance Reported — Rosecrans Superseded by Grant — 
Poor Generalship on the Confederate Side — The Fight at Brown's 
Ferry — Wounding of Colonel Oates — Battle of Wauhatchee and Loss 
of Lookout Valley — An Eccentric Captain — Responsibility for Loss of 
Lookout Valley 269 




An Epitome of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's Career — His Arrival in 
Richmond — Mr. Davis's Opinion of Him — His Assignment to Com- 
mand—The War in the West — The Battles of Wilson's Creek and of 
Belmont — Surrender of Fort Henry — Fort Donaldson — Battle of 
Shiloh — Death of General Johnston — Beauregard's Fatal Mistake — 
Fall of Corinth 291 



Bragg's First Assignment at Pensacola, Florida — In Command of the Army 
of Tennessee — His Retreat Southward After Allowing Buell to 
Escape — Rosecrans's Advance Against Bragg — Battle of Murfrees- 
boro — Missionary Ridge — Various Opinions of Bragg 315 



A Great Thing for the Confederacy and the Reputation of Jackson — 
Wounded at Seven Pines — Assigned to Command of a Department — 
Reasons for Not Going to Relief of Vicksburg — Ordered to Command 
of Army of Tennessee — His Plan to Strengthen the Army — The Policy 
of Acting on the Defensive — Face to Face With Sherman Before 
Atlanta — Relieved From Command in Favor of Hood — The Reason 
Therefor ,,..,..,.. 32.2 



longstreet's campaign 

Longstreet in East Tennessee — Siege of Knoxville — Burnside Successfully 
Resists — Longstreet Cut Off From Bragg's Army by Battle of 
Missionary Ridge — Battle of Dandridge — A Hard Winter — Quarrel 
Between Longstreet and His Generals, McLaws, Law, and Robertson — ■ 
Return to Virginia — Law Wounded — Recommendation of Oates's 
Promotion Disapproved by Longstreet 334 



Grant Placed in Command of the Army of the Potomac — He Crosses the 
Rapidan — Lee the Grandest Specimen of Manhood I Ever Beheld — ■ 
General Perry's Description of Part of the Battle — Killing of Jenkins 
and Wounding of Longstreet by Their Own Men the Turning Point 
of the Battle — Gordon's Brilliant Work — Another Lost Opportunity. . . 342 



The Fifteenth Reaches Spottsylvania Court House None Too Soon — 
Skirmishing Lively Oh the 9th and 10th — The Texans and Bayonets — 
A Supposed Night Attack — An Amusing Example of Predestination — 
Hancock's Dash Before Daybreak of the 12th — Gordon Wins His 
Commission As a Major-General by Marked Gallantry — His Graphic 
Account of the Affair — The Fighting at the Angle 354 




On North Anna River — At Ashland — Reenforcements to Lee — Sending 
Troops to the Valley — Death of Colonel Keitt — Battle of Turkey 
Ridge, or Second Cold Harbor — Beauregard and Butler — Battle of 
Chester Station— At Petersburg — Daily Skirmishing — Parting With 
the Old Regiment — Lowther's Promotion in Regular Line — Interview 
With President Davis 363 



I Am Assigned to Command of Forty-eighth Alabama — Refitting the Regi- 
ment — Ordered to New Market Heights — The Shell Fire From Gun- 
boats — Battle Near Fussell's Mill, on the Darbytown Road — I Lose 
My Right Arm — The Regiment Terribly Decimated — The "Fortykins" 
and Their Prisoners — They Win Imperishable Honors — Hospital 
Experiences V 2 



Jubal A. Early Before the War — Wounded at Williamsburg in 1862 — 
Opening of the Valley Campaign of 1864 — His Raid on Washington — 
He Could Have Captured the City — The Fight at Kernstown — He 
Orders the Raid on Chambersburg in Retaliation for Outrages Com- 
mitted by the Federals in the Valley — The Death of Generals Rodes 
and Ramseur — Sheridan's Cruelties — Fisher's Hill — Conduct of Con- 
federate Troops During the Campaign 385 




A Wag's Allusion to the Two Hills — A Comparison of the Two — D. H.'s 
Eccentricities— He Censures General Bragg and Offends Davis — A. P. 
and His "Light Division" — Killed at Petersburg — The Highest Com- 
pliment Ever Paid Him That of the Last Words of Jackson and Lee. . 397 



Hood Graduated From West Point — His Rapid Rise From Captain to Full 
General — Loses a Leg at Chickamauga — Made Lieutenant-General — 
In Command of Army of Tennessee, Succeeding Gen. Joseph E. 
Johnston — The Struggle Before Atlanta — Handicapped by Lukewarm- 
ness and Incompetency of Some of His Generals — Correspondence 
Between Hood and Sherman — Protest of Mayor of Atlanta — Davis's 
Palmetto Speech — Hood's Disappointment at Spring Hill and His 
Bitter Complaint Thereat — The Battle at Franklin — The Campaign to 
the Alabama Line — Relieved From Duty With the Army of Tennes- 
see — His Last Service and Surrender — After the War 400 



My Return to Alabama — Condition of the Southern Country — In January, 
1865, I Visit the Old Brigade — Refuse to Be Retired— Assigned to 
Another Command — The Heroism and Suffering of Private Soldiers — 
Excuse for Desertion— Reunion of the Survivors of the Fifteenth 
Alabama Regiment — Father Brannon's Poem 428 




Issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and What Came of It— Efforts on 
the Part of the South to Arrange An Exchange of Prisoners — The 
Cruel Policy That Rejected All Overtures in That Direction — Grant 
Responsible — Butler's Views 4 



General Lee's Descent — Graduated From West Point — His Work As An 
Engineer in the War With Mexico — Commander of the Virginia 
State Troops — One of the Five Full Generals of the Confederacy — His 
Amazing Audacity As a Commander — Foreseeing the End — Had No 
Rival Among Any of the Generals That Survived the War — His 
Course After the Surrender 4. 



General Holmes Its First Commander— Succeeded by E. Kirby Smith in 
March, 1863— Operations to Relieve the Situation at Vicksburg— 
Attack on Helena— General Taylor's Work in Louisiana— Taylor 
Versus Banks-Made a Lieutenant-General-Assigned to Command 
of Department of Mississippi— His Writings 




General Lee Assigns General Johnston to Command of Army of Tennes- 
see — Johnston's Policy on Assuming Command — The Fighting Near 
Bentonville — Baker's Charge on a Jack-Rabbit, and Where It Took 
Him — Sherman and Schofield United — Johnston's Consultation With 
Davis — The Agreement Between Johnston and Sherman — Rejected by 
Andrew Johnson — Terms of Surrender as Agreed To — Johnston's 
Checkered Career — "Fighting" Joe Hooker's Opinion of Johnston... 453 



His Strong Parentage — An Incident Showing His Chivalry and Violent 
Temper — As He Conducted Discipline— His First Important Service — 
Pursuit and Capture of Streight — Thanked by Congress — Bragg and 
Forrest — Doctor Cowan's Account of Forrest's Denunciation of 
Bragg — He . Harasses Sherman — Some Opinions of Forrest — The 
Battle of Brice's Cross Roads a Masterpiece of Strategy — Incidents of 
His Career After the War — His Personal Appearance and Character. . 463 



Taxation — Confederate Money — Its Depreciation — The Foreign Debt — 
Lines to a Twenty-Dollar Confederate Note — Deficient Commissariat 
and Despondency the Cause of Desertion of Confederate Soldiers .... 486 




Gen. J. E. Johnston's Proposition — The Principle the Emancipation Procla- 
mation Was Based On — What the South Should Have Done — The 
Negroes the Last Hope for Confederate Recruits — The Impotent and 
Inefficient Confederate Congress — The Act to Enlist Negro Slaves 
Passed 494 



Mr. Davis's Birthplace and Ancestry — Graduate of West Point — Elected 
to Congress — Distinguished Service in Mexican War — In the United 
States Senate — Secretary of War Under Pierce — Made Major-General 
and Put in Command of State Troops of Mississippi — Chosen Presi- 
dent of the Confederacy — His Failings in Office — The Best Man Avail- 
able for the Office as Viewed in the Light of the Time He Was 
Selected — His Mistake in Not Surrendering With Johnston— His 
Treatment After Arrest Deeply Resented by the South 507 



Lincoln's Early Life — Elected to the State Legislature — Mustered Into 
the Service of the United States by Jefferson Davis — Admitted to the 
Bar — How He Got the Sobriquet "Old Abe" — Sent to Congress As a 
Whig — His Debates With Douglas — First President Elected by the 
Republican Party — His Three Master Strokes — The Paramount Policy 
of His Administration — The Gettysburg Speech — Some Personal 
Anecdotes — His Assassination a Terrible Blow to the South, ,.,..,.. ^o 




The Personnel and Organization of the Confederate Armies — A Citizen 
Soldiery — Their Morale, Discipline and Powers of Endurance — No 
Stimulus to Deeds of Daring but Patriotism — Was the Independence 
of the Confederacy Possible of Attainment? — A Mighty Struggle — 
Conclusions 534 



Causes Leading Up to the War — Events Immediately Preceding — Resolu- 
tions of Congress — Battle of Manila — Arrival of Cervera's Fleet — 
Battle of Santiago — Fighting Around Santiago — General Wheeler — 
Terms of Peace Agreed Upon — The Organization of the Volunteers — 
My Attempt to Get Alabama Soldiers in My Brigade — Honorably 
Discharged 545 

The Fifteenth Alabama Infantry Regiment 569 


The Fourth Alabama Regiment 775 

The Forty-fourth Alabama Regiment 782 

The Forty-eighth Alabama Regiment 787 



Colonel William C. Oates, C. S. A., March, 1864 Frontispiece. 

The Inauguration of Jefferson Davis .Facing 58 

General Lee at the Grave of "Stonewall" Jackson " 188 

The 15th Alabama Regiment Going into the Battle of Chickamauga. " 268 
Colonel Oates with the 15th and 48th Alabama Regiments in the Bat- 
tle of Spottsylvania, 1864. " 354 

Colonel Oates with the 15th and 48th Alabama Regiments Resisting 
and Checking the Advance of Hancock's Corps near Fussel's 
Mills, August 16th, 1864. " 376 

U.S.Grant. " 423 

Survivors of the 15th Alabama Regiment in Reunion at Montgomery, 

November 13th, 1902.. " 436 

Equestrian Statue of Lieutenant-General Nathan Bedford Forrest. " 463 

A Confederate Note of Twenty Dollars " 490 

Generals of the Confederate Army " 507 

A. Lincoln. .. .. .... " 520 

Wm. C. Oates... , " 545 


To record the reminiscences concerning the secession of the South- 
ern States from the Union, and the great war which followed, seems 
to me to be a duty that I owe to those who participated, to their chil- 
dren and to the generations who succeed them. It was my lot to be 
an humble actor therein, as well as a close observer of whatever 
transpired within my presence, or which was common knowledge at 
the time. 

I had then, young as I was, opinions of my own, many of which, 
however, by reflection and the mellowing influence of time, have 
undergone changes. Wherever I state a fact as within my own 
knowledge, it is literally true, but many of the transactions I relate 
are on information which I believe to be true, whether it pertains to 
civil administration or military affairs. No two men can participate 
in a great battle and see it just alike. It is human to err. Whoever 
undertakes to record historic events should endeavor to do it truth- 
fully rather than entertainingly at the expense of the truth. 

Honestly believing that the States had a right to secede from the 
Union, I have written from that standpoint, and that independence 
of the Confederacy could have been established and maintained by a 
proper administration of its affairs. 

I make no pretense to scholarly attainments, nor did I ever have the 
advantages of a classical education. I have ideas of my own and can 
recognize the truth when I see it, and usually have the courage to 
express it in a respectful manner whenever it is pertinent to the 
question in hand. I have not withheld or refrained from its state- 
ment through fear of offending or that it might be unpopular. 

I have bestowed much time and research to obtain the true version 
of the great events which did not come under my own observation, 
and have stated them in as plain and concise language as I was able 
to employ. In some of these there may be error, but if so, it 
resulted from lack of more accurate information. Whoever under- 


takes to record historic events should endeavor to give unvarnished 
facts to inform the reader ; and then if it be desired to give the story 
a tinge of the romantic, to entertain the reader, let it be done as an 
expression of fiction or opinion rather than as a fact. While argu- 
ments may be interesting they are not history. That is found alone 
in the statements of fact. A writer's deductions from admitted 
premises are unobjectionable. They are often of much interest to 
the reader, but are not history. Every reader has the same right to 
his own conclusions. 

Whatever is written herein is without malice or ill-will to any, and 
in a spirit of charity toward all. 

The muster rolls of companies contain errors, and so do official 
reports of officers, from the highest down to the lowest. It is there- 
fore impossible to record only the facts in any book, or in any history 
of war. The only way to obtain a fair, correct and complete history 
of the great Civil War, is for the future historian to cull and compare 
the statements of the multitude of writers on both sides of the great 

This book is a new venture in historic production, combining regi- 
mental with general history. 

Appendix A contains the name and record of every member of the 
Fifteenth Regiment. 

In Appendix B will be found an epitome of the other four regi- 
ments of Law's Alabama Brigade. 

I have also embraced within this book a chapter on the war with 
Spain in 1898, which closed the military career of the author. 

I expect to be criticised severely, but that is the privilege of the 
public. I ask only fair treatment. 

The author returns thanks to Miss S. F. Ammerman, his stenogra- 
pher, for her assistance in preparing the manuscript of this book for 
the publisher. 

William C. Oates. 

Montgomery, Ala., 
October 2, 1904. 



Signing of Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States 
— Making the New Constitution — The First Eleven Amendments — Two 
Distinct Types of Early Settlers — John Brown's Raid and the Aboli- 
tionists at the North — The Tariff a Thorn — The Charleston Convention — 
Utterances of Prominent Unionists — The Ordinance of Secession. 

The Declaration of Independence was signed and issued July 
4, 1776. Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between 
the States, naming each of the original thirteen, and styling the 
Confederacy thus formed, the United States of America, were 
signed by the delegates from each State July 9, 1778. 

Article II. declared : 

Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every 
power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this Confederation expressly del- 
egated to the United States in Congress assembled. 

It was a league of friendship for common defense and mutual 
benefit; but in less than ten years the Articles of Confederation 
proved to be defective, mainly in two of the essential powers of 
government. These were, first, that the Confederation itself had 
no power to enforce the collection of revenue for the execution of 
its own functions. The raising of revenue depended on the 
States, all of which did not act in harmony, and hence tax burdens 
were unequal, and the States by refusing to contribute their 
respective assessments could starve the Confederacy into dissolu- 
tion. The second great defect was as to the regulation of com- 
merce, a power which the Confederation did not have, and the 
conflict of this interest among and between the States was so 
great as to impair friendly relations and threaten the dissolution 
of the Confederacy. 

The Congress called a convention of delegates from each State 
to assemble in Philadelphia for the purpose of amending the 
Articles of Confederation, and not to make a new constitution, 
yet the latter is what the convention did. 


The convention when it assembled with George Washington 
at its head was composed of earnest, patriotic and capable dele- 
gates. To merely amend the Articles of Confederation, in their 
opinion, would be but a temporary makeshift. They therefore 
entered on the most complicated, difficult, and delicate task ever 
undertaken by any body of men, to frame a new constitution of 
government which would be acceptable to the States and with- 
stand the tests of time. 

When it was settled that the convention would frame a new 
constitution, there was patriotic unanimity in the desire to bring 
their work to the greatest perfection attainable. But when the 
delegates entered upon the details, differences of opinion were 
developed, and dissensions and contentions arose, tinged with a 
bitterness that for a time threatened the dissolution of the body 
without result. 

It is not our purpose to enter into particulars, but to refer only 
to general results. 

One wing of the convention favored a strong aristocratic 
republican government, with ample power to sustain itself inde- 
pendently of the States and with the power of the people minli- 
mized. The other was in favor of a government of limited and 
enumerated powers, leaving the States sovereign in all things, 
save the powers delegated by them, through the Constitution, and 
in which the people of the States would still retain the supreme 
power of control. 

The first-named theory predominated in the work of the con- 
vention, as submited to the States for ratification, and ratification 
was utterly impracticable until the adoption of the first eleven 
amendments to the Constitution was assured. The ninth and 
tenth of these articles are rules of Constitution to which the people 
of the Southern States always adhered. They are in these words : 

Article IX. — The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall 
not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. 

Article X. — The powers not delegated to the United States by the Consti- 
tution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respec- 
tively or to the people. 

Without these, some of the States never would have ratified 
the Constitution. 

In Washington's Administration, it being the first under the 
new Constitution, it was quite natural, and in fact unavoidable, 
that out of the different constructions of the Constitution would 


arise two political parties. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of 
the Treasury, and Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, both 
in Washington's Cabinet, became the leaders. The former was 
an artful latitudinarian constructionist, who invoked implied 
powers and exploited the general welfare clause. He found 
authority in this way for all measures he advocated when there 
was no expressed power. He advocated a high protective tariff 
for manufactures at the expense of agriculture, and was the 
originator of this system of concealing from the taxpayer his 
contribution to the support of the Government which exists in 
full force today. He advocated a National bank and declared the 
power to establish and maintain it as a fiscal agency of the 
Government. He was constitutionally an aristocrat and had no 
faith in the people, and is quoted as saying, "The people is a 
great beast." He meant the common herd, and not the rich, the 
lords of the earth. 

Jefferson held the contrary doctrine. He repudiated implied 
powers and denied that the general welfare was a power at all, 
holding that the powers not delegated by the Constitution to the 
United States, nor prohibited by it to the States, were reserved to 
the States respectively or to the people. He was opposed to 
indirect methods of taxation, to burdening some industries while 
by law fostering others. He respected the voice of the people 
and advocated equality of rights. The Federalists, or followers 
of the Hamiltonian theory, passed the alien and sedition laws. 
Jefferson and his followers, whom they called Republicans, 
opposed them as unconstitutional and tyrannical ; they triumphed 
over Adams and the Federal party and elected Jefferson President. 
Parties changed names from time to time, but these same prin- 
ciples, with modifications in some instances, but always with the 
same basic principles, existed. As business interests and wealth 
increased they became more sectionalized and irritating. But 
the cause of quarrel, from this source alone, would never have 
eventuated in secession. 

In the early settlement of the colonies two distinct types of 
civilization were imported from the mother country. A majority 
of those who made their homes in New England and the Northern 
States were Puritans, and a majority of those who settled in 
Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia were Cavaliers or 
of that stock. 

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the Stuarts the dissenters 
from the Church of England who advocated a higher life and 


purer doctrine and assumed to possess all the Godliness and 
virtue, the right to think for others, and in a Pharisaical spirit 
thanked God that they were not as other men, were Puritans ; in 
other words, they were a class who habitually were running their 
noses into the business of other people which did not concern 
them. The Mayflower landed a cargo of them on Plymouth 

The adherents of the established church and the Parliament 
were called Cavaliers. They were noted for conservatism. They 
were never rigidly righteous, but liberal, generous, brave, and 
disposed to mind their own business and let that of other people 

They fought each other repeatedly in England and were never 
thoroughly in accord in America. As the country grew and 
developed the interests in the two sections in which they lived 
sharpened the dislike of each other. 

The New England and Northern States as they settled up 
found that the institution of negro slavery, which existed in all 
of them, was not profitable, and as soon as that was ascertained 
they pretended that it was a great moral wrong, and three- fourths 
of the slaves were sent into the Southern States and sold ; the other 
fourth was then emancipated by State action, which was the 
proper legal authority to abolish the institution. 

The labor of the slaves in the Southern States, with their 
warmer climate, in the production of tobacco, rice, cotton, hemp 
and sugar was very valuable. Southern plantation owners 
became rich and lived in princely munificence. 

This aroused the envy and the fervid Puritanic zeal of certain 
Northern people to have abolished the ungodly institution; but 
not as had been done with them, by State action. They preached 
against it from their pulpits, and denounced it politically from 
the stump and in the fanatical press as "the sum total of all 
villainy, slavery and polygamy as twin relics of barbarism;" as 
"a league with death and a covenant with hell," until their doc- 
trine incited a band of fanatics to believe that they were inspired 
by Heaven to light the torch of revolution in Southern homes, to 
invade a Southern State for the purpose of inciting the slaves to 
insurrection, arson, and indiscriminate murder of the white 
people; and when the chief of these malefactors, "Old John 
Brown," was executed by Virginia, church bells were tolled in 
some of the Northern cities to canonize him as a martyr. 


Brown was born in Connecticut in 1800, and descended from a 
carpenter who was a Puritan and came over in the Mayflower. 
Brown was called "Captain" because he went to the territory of 
Kansas with a lawless band to keep slave-holders from settling 
therein. At Ossawattomie his band of ruffians fought a battle 
with pro-slavery men and Brown's son was killed, which infur- 
iated him. Brown had been educated for the Christian ministry, 
and he traveled in the Northern States preaching against slavery 
and the people among whom it existed. Whenever a preacher 
of Christianity takes to politics and becomes fanatical he is always 
radical and dangerous to the community. Brown was extremely 

In October, 1859, ne raised a band of seventeen white men and 
five negroes to invade the South, 'to incite the slaves to insurrec- 
tion and bloodshed. He attacked and captured Harper's Ferry, 
Va., a town of 4,000 people, situated at the confluence of the 
Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. He captured the United 
States Arsenal with thousands of guns and ammunition; killed 
two or three people in doing it, and took many citizens prisoners. 
The Governor caused 1,500 militia to be assembled the next day, 
when Brown with his band was captured. They were then tried 
and executed. 

The more moderate Abolitionists said slavery was a national 
disgrace, and appealed to Congress, which had no legal power in 
the premises, to abolish it. 

Utter lawlessness characterized the radical element of the 
Abolitionists at the North. As an illustration, I will cite a case 
which occurred in Linn County, Kansas, in i860. A slave escaped 
from his master in Missouri and was arrested by a man named 
Hinds, under the fugitive-slave law of Congress, and returned 
to his owner, for which Hinds received a reward for his trouble. 
Thereupon a fanatic called "Colonel" Jim Montgomery, and a 
mob of his kind, hanged Hinds for doing what the lay authorized 
him to do. Montgomery published the following boastful account 
of his lawless act : 

Russ Hinds was hung the 12th of November, i860, for man-stealing. He 
was a drunken border ruffian, worth a good deal to hang, but good for noth- 
ing else. He caught a fugitive slave and carried him back to Missouri for the 
sake of a reward. He was condemned by a jury of twelve men, the law being 
found in the 16th verse of Exodus XXI. 


Misconstruction and misapplication of the Scripture was made 
to justify this cold-blooded murder. We might cite other 
instances, all of which were applauded by the rabid Abolitionists. 

The Northern Puritan Abolitionists professed to believe that 
men owned the flesh, blood and souls of their slaves, treating them 
and disposing of them with no more regard for their welfare than 
if they had been lifeless or inanimate chattels ; when in truth the 
owner of the slave had only a right to control and dispose of his 
labor, and to inflict upon him for cause reasonable corporal pun- 
ishment as was allowable at the common law, and had a pecuniary 
interest in his health and welfare. In return for these rights over 
the person of the slave, the law in every State where the institu- 
tion existed obliged the master by penal statutes to provide the 
slave with a sufficiency of healthful food and clothing, medical 
attention in case of sickness, not to work him on the Sabbath, and 
that he be allowed to attend Divine worship on that day ; and to 
kill him was murder. 

When they were sold the law required that husband and wife, 
parent and child should not be separated whenever it was practi- 
cable to keep them together. Interest and humanity united in 
making the master careful of the health and life of his slaves. 

The Southern people largely descended from the Cavaliers, 
were naturally conservative, or at least a majority were, and 
hence, notwithstanding the above enumerated and many other 
causes of irritation, they were not yet in favor of secession. 

The North's successful rivalry of the South in trade and com- 
merce, aided by partial legislation, bounties and discriminations 
of tariff laws, gave just cause of complaint, but never would have 
caused a Southern State to attempt secession from the Union. 

In 1832 South Carolina, under the lead of Calhoun, attempted 
nullification by way of protest against the unjust tariff laws, but 
this was far short of secession. Nullification was to resist the 
execution of a law of Congress within the Union ; secession was 
to withdraw from it. 

A large majority of the people in the Eastern and Northern 
States of the Union were, and are today, engaged in commercial 
and manufacturing pursuits, while three-fourths of the Southern 
people were then engaged in agriculture. 

Tariff duties on goods, wares and merchandise imported from 
abroad are added to the price which the consumer has to pay for 
them, and this enables the American manufacturer to compete 
with the foreign manufacturer and if the duties be high to 


shut him out and give the American market exclusively to the 
American manufacturer. 

This was all right as between him and the foreigner, if it did 
not discriminate among our own people, favoring one class at 
the expense of all others. One entire section of the country being 
agricultural, not engaged in manufacturing, were consumers and 
hence had to pay the price of protection to the manufacturers 
resident in the Northern section, thus enabling them to grow rich 
on the facilities afforded them by the taxes indirectly paid by the 
agricultural section. This has always been a source of com- 
plaint — a just grievance to the Southern people. It still exists. 
An overgrown tariff — a tariff for protection, so called, instead of 
for revenue only — is the parent of trusts of the most mischievous 
and dangerous character. 

The vast emigration which flocked to our shores from 1840 to 
i860, by the activity of the people North through emigration 
societies, filled the Northwestern territories with Germans and 
Scandinavians by the thousands and hundreds of thousands, and 
Congress admitted new States, all of anti-slavery and pro-tariff 
sentiment, until the Northern section controlled the Congress, 
though the Democrats continued in power and had the President 
until March, 1861. 

Mr. Buchanan was old and unfitted to wield the executive power 
advantageously in such a perilous time. He was passive ; he did 

Richard Taylor, a son of ex-President Taylor, a gentleman of 
great ability, who subsequently rose to the rank of lieutenant- 
general in the Confederate army, wrote a book in 1878-79, in 
which he described the Charleston Convention, to which he 
was a delegate, in such a concise and graphic manner that we 
extract from it the following : 


Under these conditions the National Democratic Convention met at 
Charleston, South Carolina, in the spring of i860, to declare the principles on 
which the ensuing presidential campaign was to be conducted, and select can- 
didates for the offices of President and Vice-President. Appointed a delegate 
by the Democracy of my State, Louisiana, in company with others I reached 
Charleston two days in advance of the time. We were at once met by an invi- 
tation to join in council delegates from the Gulf States, to agree upon some 
common ground of action in the convention, but declined for the reason that 
we were accredited to the National Convention, and had no authority to par- 
ticipate in other deliberations. This invitation and the terms in which it was 


conveyed augured badly for the harmony of the convention itself, and for the 
preservation of the unity of the Democracy, then the only organization sup- 
ported in all quarters of the country. 

It may be interesting to recall the impression created at the time by the 
tone and temper of different delegations. New England adhered to the old 
tenets of the Jefferson school. Two leaders from Massachusetts, Messrs. 
Caleb Cushing and Benjamin F Butler, of whom the former was chosen Pres- 
ident of the convention, warmly supported the candidacy of Mr. Jefferson 
Davis. New York, under the direction of Mr. Dean Richmond, gave its influ- 
ence to Douglas. Of a combative temperament, Mr. Richmond was impressed 
with a belief that "Secession" was but a bugbear to frighten the North- 
ern wing of the party. Thus he failed to appreciate the gravity of the situa- 
tion, and impaired the value of unusual common sense and unselfish patriot- 
ism, qualities he possessed to an eminent degree. The anxieties of Pennsyl- 
vania as to candidates were accompanied by a philosophic indifference as to 
principles. The Northwest was ardent for Douglas, who divided with Guthrie, 
Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana held moderate 
opinions and were ready to adopt any honorable means to preserve the unity 
of the party and country. The conduct of the South Carolina delegates was 
admirable. Representing the most advanced constituency in the convention, 
they were singularly reticent and abstained from adding fuel to the flames. 
They limited their role to that of dignified, courteous hosts and played it as 
Carolina gentlemen are wont to do. From Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, 
Arkansas, and Texas came the fiery spirits, led by Mr. William L. Yancey, of 
Alabama, an able rhetorician. This gentleman had persuaded his State Con- 
vention to pass a resolution directing its delegates to withdraw from Charles- 
ton if the Democracy there assembled refused to adopt the extreme Southern 
view as to the rights of citizens in the territories. In this he was opposed by 
ex-Governor Winston, a man of conservative tendencies and long the rival 
of Mr. Yancey in State politics. Both gentlemen were sent to Charleston, but 
the majority of their co-delegates sustained Mr. Yancey. 

Several days after its organization the National Convention reached a point 
which made the withdrawal of Alabama imminent. Filled with anxious fore- 
bodings, I sought after nightfall the lodgings of Messrs. Slidell, Bayard, and 
Bright, United States Senators, who had come to Charleston, not as dele- 
gates, but under the impulse of hostility to the principles and candidacy of Mr. 
Douglas. There, after pointing out the certain consequences of Alabama's 
impending action, I made an earnest appeal for peace and harmony and with 
success. Mr. Yancey was sent for, came into our views after some discus- 
sion, and undertook to call his people together at that late hour and secure 
their consent to disregard instructions. We waited until near dawn for Yan- 
cey's return, but his efforts failed of success. Governor Winston, originally 
opposed to instructions as unwise and dangerous, now insisted that they 
should be obeyed to the letter, and carried a majority of the Alabama dele- 
gates with him. Thus the last hope of preserving the unity of the National 
Democracy was destroyed and by one who was its earnest advocate. 

Nothing more forcibly illustrates the lack of wisdom of sending 
two men who have widely differed on a matter of principle, as 
delegates by way of personal compliment to the defeated one. 
Winston was right in opposing the resolution of instruction in 
the Alabama Convention. It was ill-tempered and radical. But 
Yancey caused its adoption and should have had a delegation in 


complete accord with him. Had that been the case the delegation 
would have agreed with Yancey to forego instructions and remain 
in the convention, which would have saved it from dissolution 
and have continued the Democracy in power for at least four 
years longer. That would have been in exact accord with 
Governor Winston's contention in the Alabama Convention. But 
he desired to punish Yancey and those who agreed with him by 
holding him and them down to the instructions they had invoked 
and obtained against his objection. That was unfortunately 
selfish and reckless of consequences. Ex-Governor Winston, of 
Alabama, thus drove the entering wedge which cleaved the 
National Democracy asunder and brought upon his country un- 
told misery. Yancey's fiery eloquence had filled the hearts of 
many Southerners with a disposition to applaud radical Southern 
sentiments, which opened wide a great field for Winston's con- 
servatism to have brought to the Democracy a sober second 
thought and have saved it from disintegration and defeat; but 
on this great occasion his ill-temper caused him to lose his head 
and ruin his party. Then the platform adopted by the conven- 
tion — although it did not endorse squatter-sovereignty, it did not 
explicitly condemn it, and Yancey made his great factional speech 
and seceded from the convention, followed by the Alabama dele- 
gates and a majority of those of the Southern States. Thus was 
consummated the first act of secession. Winston and Yancey 
were the leaders in its consummation. The great Democratic 
party was divided into factions. One wing ran Douglas and 
Johnson and the other Breckenridge and Lane. The American 
party ran Bell and Everett and the Republican Abolition party 
ran Lincoln and Hamlin for President and Vice-President, and 
the latter were elected by the electoral college, notwithstanding 
that ticket received only a minority of the popular vote. The 
only security to the institution of slavery was the Democratic 
party, because it was the only party which observed the limitations 
of the Constitution. With it destroyed, or put out of power, 
slavery was doomed ; yet the most avowed pro-slavery Democrats 
took the lead in its evisceration. The Southern people, if left to 
themselves and allowed to do their own thinking, are conservative 
enough, but are patriotic and easily moved by eloquence and 
wounded pride. They are Frenchy — excitable and impulsive. 

When a great and growing political party, which existed alone 
in the Northern States, whose slogan was opposition to slavery, 
an institution confined alone to the South (which had existed 


there as a State institution for many generations) and whose 
orators and newspapers were full of vituperation and denuncia- 
tion of Southern people, succeeded in electing a President who 
had proclaimed an irrepressible conflict between the North and 
the South', that all this country must be slave or free labor, the 
apprehensions of the people of the South were awakened to a 
common danger, not about slavery alone, but that their ancient 
and well-defined right to govern and regulate their own internal 
and domestic affairs in their own way would be overturned and 
denied to them. They did not apprehend that these things would 
be done in a direct and revolutionary manner under Lincoln's 
administration, but by attrition — gradual approaches — under the 
guise of law and constitutional authority. 

One extreme in public affairs invariably begets another in 
antagonism. The relentless war which had been made on slavery 
in the North had caused the people in the South to look up author- 
ity in the Bible to justify it. The politicians on the rostrum and 
the preachers in their pulpits justified it and proclaimed the insti- 
tution a good thing for the slave as well as the master. It should 
have been conceded that no man by the laws of Nature had the 
right to own or control the labor of another, except for a just 
compensation, but in this case the compensation was not so much 
to him individually as to his race, which never would have found 
its way into the sunlight of civilization except through the institu- 
tion of slavery. That was, and is, with all its hardships and 
stripes inflicted, an ample compensation to the race as a whole. 
The light of this theory had never dawned upon the Northern 
mind and never could enter the cranium of a Puritanical Yankee. 

There was a difference of opinion among Southern leaders 
after Mr. Lincoln's election in November as to whether there 
should be a conference and co-operation among the Southern 
States as to the course to be pursued and thus to secure unanimity 
of action. Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, was the most 
prominent man who advocated this "co-operation," as it was 
called, but he and those who agreed with him were too conserva- 
tive and cautious to suit the fiery advocates of secession by 
separate State action. Co-operation was wise. Virginia acted 
on it, but divided counsels prevailed in the South. 

The co-operationists were characterized by many as "Sub- 
missionists." They were in the minority and failed to secure 
co-operation. Under these circumstances conventions were called 


at different dates in December, i860, January and February, 
1 86 1, each to decide for itself what the State should do. 

Seven of these conventions acted at once, and holding that the 
Union was a voluntary one, and that it was no longer a safeguard 
and protection, but a menace to their rights, resolved to withdraw 
from it and form another Union, in which it was believed there 
would be peace, harmony and security of rights resulting from 
homogeneity of interests. 

They did not stop to consider collateral questions, nor what 
might logically follow their action in case of success or failure. 

They reasoned syllogistically thus : If the Union was a volun- 
tary one, entered into by the States for their mutual benefit and 
protection, then when in the opinion of the State such security 
was no longer guaranteed, but jeopardized or denied, it had th!e 
right to withdraw from such a Union; and if a State had the 
right to withdraw or secede, it followed as a logical sequence that 
the Union had no right to coerce such State to remain within it, 
or to return after having withdrawn from it. But the Union, 
contrary to undisputed facts of history, denied that it was a 
voluntary one and asserted a paramount and perpetual nationality, 
and claimed the right to coerce the States to remain within it. 
However illogical and untrue, this was the doctrine of the 

Thus was presented a great issue, one which unfortunately our 
Constitution did not provide an umpire to peaceably adjudicate, 
and hence the question was necessarily submitted to the arbitra- 
ment of arms — the court of last resort among nations. 

To show more clearly the views and contentions of the Union- 
ists, we quote from the utterances of the most prominent. Presi- 
dent Lincoln's great oration on the field of Gettysburg at the 
dedication in November, 1863, proceeded entirely on the erron- 
eous hypothesis that the life of the nation was at stake. A proper 
analysis of his speech was that if the Confederates succeeded that 
the nation was destroyed — that it would prove not only that 
American Government was a failure, but would accomplish its 
destruction as well. He assumed that if the South was divorced 
from the North it would prove the death of each. How fallacious 
and deceptive. The secession of a part of the States did not, 
could not, and never did put the life of the nation in jeopardy. 
In all of his letters and messages he asserted that the life of the 
nation was at issue, when no one knew better than he that the 
seceding States united in a Confederacy sought peaceable separa- 


tion and were anxious to treat with the Union still composed of 
twenty-one States. He considered a slump in a body of one-third 
of the States of which the Union was composed would kill the 
Union, or the nation, as he called it, which would still after the 
secession have been composed of twenty-one of the most wealthy 
and populous States. The assumption that the Confederates 
sought the destruction of the Union was preposterous. 

Gen. U. S. Grant, the most renowned general of the Union 
armies, after he had been President eight years, wrote a book, 
and in Vol. 2, p. 506, said : 

The Constitution was not framed with a view to any such rebellion as that 
of 1861-5. While it did not authorize rebellion, it made no provision against it. 

This is quite true, but Article 10 of the amendments to that 
instrument is in the following language : 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor 
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to 
the people. 

If, therefore, the assertion of General Grant above quoted be 
true, the right of secession was one of the powers reserved to the 
States, and the war against the Southern States for exercising 
that right was unjust. 

On the same page General Grant asserted that : 

The right to resist or suppress rebellion is as inherent as the right of self- 
defense, and as natural as the right of an individual to preserve his life when 
in jeopardy. 

This assumption of the great general and ex-President is too 
absurd to be met by argument." The argument the Unionists 
employed, and which he attempted to thus justify, was simply 
force of numbers and appliances of war. 

In refutation of the assertion of Lincoln, Grant, and all the 
Unionists, that the Confederates jeopardized the life of the nation, 
suppose there had been no war, that the Confederate States had 
been recognized and allowed a peaceable separate existence. 
Would the Government of the United States — the Union, the 
nation — have continued to exist, or would that have killed it ? 

The cry that the life of the nation was in jeopardy was a false 
cry to cover the double purpose of abolishing slavery and to make 
the government practically a consolidated nationality. 


General Grant further said : 

The Constitution was therefore in abeyance for the time being, so far as it 
in any way affected the progress of the war. 

It was not in abeyance except as it was disregarded or ignored 
by the Administration and its generals in the field. They treated 
that great instrument as the Irish member of Congress revered 
and obeyed it. He applied to the President for a job for his 
friend and was told that it could not be done, as it would violate 
the Constitution. The Honorable Tim replied : "Mr. President, 
all we Democrats have great respect for the Constitution, but I 
don't intend to let it come between me and my friend." 

The Constitution was not allowed to come in the way of the 
Unionists. It was suspended or disregarded by them. 

On the 20th of December South Carolina passed her ordinance 
of secession withdrawing from the Union; Mississippi followeid 
January 9, 1861 ; Florida the 10th, Alabama the nth, Georgia 
the 1 8th, Louisiana the 26th, and Texas soon after. 

The following is an exact copy of Alabama's ordinance, with 
the names of all the delegates who signed it, to wit : 


To dissolve the Union between the State of ALABAMA and other States 
united under the compact styled "The Constitution of the 


WHEREAS, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to 
the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States of America, 
by a sectional party avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the 
peace and security of the people of the STATE OF ALABAMA, preceded by 
many and dangerous infractions of the Constitution of the United States by 
many of the States and people of the Northern section, is a political wrong 
of so insulting and menacing character as to justify the PEOPLE of the 
STATE of ALABAMA, in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for 
their future peace and security ; therefore— BE IT DECLARED AND OR- 
DAINED BY THE PEOPLE of the STATE of ALABAMA in convention 
assembled, That the STATE of ALABAMA now withdraws, and is hereby 
withdrawn from the Union known as "The United States of America," and 
henceforth ceases to be one of said United States, and is, and of right ought 

Sec. 2. Be it further declared and ordained by the PEOPLE of the 
STATE of ALABAMA in convention assembled, That all the power over 
the Territory of said State and over the people thereof, heretofore delegated 



to the Government of the United States of America, be and they are hereby 
withdrawn from said Government and are hereby resumed and vested in the 
PEOPLE of the STATE of ALABAMA— And as it is the desire and pur- 
pose of the PEOPLE of ALABAMA to meet the Slaveholding States of the 
SOUTH, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a Provisional as 
well as permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the 
United States— Be it resolved by the PEOPLE of ALABAMA in Convention 
assembled, That the people of the States of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, 
North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, 
Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri, be and are hereby invi- 
ted to meet the PEOPLE of the STATE of ALABAMA, by their Delegates, 
in Convention, on the Fourth day of February, A. D., 1861, at the City of 
MONTGOMERY in the STATE of ALABAMA, for the purpose of con- 
sulting with each other as to the most effectual mode of securing concerted 
and harmonious action in whatever measure may be deemed desirable for our 
common peace and security. 

AND be it further resolved, That the President of the Convention, be and is 
hereby instructed to transmit forthwith a copy of the foregoing Preamble, 
Ordinance and Resolution to the Governors of the several States named in 
said resolutions— Done by the PEOPLE of the STATE of ALABAMA, in 
Convention assembled, at MONTGOMERY, on the Eleventh day of January 
A. D., 1861. 

William M. Brooks, President 

of the Convention. 
A. I. Curtis, 
Alpheus Baker, 
W. H. Davis, 
John Cochran, 
John W. L. Daniel, 
Lewis M. Stone, 
E. S. Dargan, 
John Bragg, 
H. G. Humphries, 
Geo. A. Ketchum, 
O. R. Blue, 
James L. Sheffield, 
James Ferguson Dowdell, 
Franklin K. Beck, 
Saml. J. Boiling, 
Jno. McPherson, 
A. P. Love, 
J. A. Henderson, 
Geo. D. Shortridge, 
Eli W. Starke, 
Albert Crumpler, 
Jere Clemens, 
George Taylor, 
John B. Lennard, 
James Spollock Williamson, 
J. W. McClanahan, 
John Tyler Morgan, 
Jas. G. Hawkins, 
Jno. P. Timberlake of Jackson, 
Gappa T. Yelverton, 
Thomas Tipton Smith, 

James B. Clark, 

Lyman Gibbons, 

James W. Crawford, 

Wm. H. Barnes, 

Wm. S. Phillips, 

George Rives, Sr., 

Jas. G. Gilchrist, 

Archibald Rhea Barclay, 

G. C. Whatley, 

Danl. L. Ryan, 

John M. Crook, 

Saml. Henderson of Macon, 

O. S. Jewett, 

John R. Coffey, 

B. M. Baker of Russell, 

Thomas Hill Watts, 

John W. Inzer, 

H. E. Owens, 

M. G. Slaughter, 

N. D. Johnson, 

Joseph Silver, 

James F. Bailey, 

Julius C. B. Mitchell, 

Wm. L. Earnest, 

David B. Creech, 

De Witt Clinton Davis, 

Richard Jackson Wood, 

Jef. Buford, 

John Green, Sr., 

J. M. Foster, 

Nich. Davis, 

John P. Ralls, M. D., 

W E. Clark of Marengo, 


James McKine, George Forrester, 

W. L. Yancey, R. J. Smison, Jr., 

A. A. Coleman, William A. Hood, 

J. D. Webb, Arthur Campbell Beard, 

Thos. H. Herndon, Ralph O. Howard, 

S. E. Catterlin, Henry M. Gay, 
David P. Lewis, 

A. G. Horn, Secretary of the Convention. 

Frank L. Smith, of Montgomery, Assistant Secretary of the Conven- 

A true copy from the original, P H. Brittan, Sec. of State. 



The Most Conclusive Statement as to Secession, That Written by Commodore 
Maury — The New York Tribune on the Situation — As Viewed by the 
Albany Argus — From the New York Herald — The Free Press Gives Its 
Views — As Emphatically Stated by the Union, of Bangor, Maine — Chan- 
cellor Walworth — The Proposed Thirteenth Amendment. 

After thorough research and close comparison I assert that the 
clearest and most conclusive statement of the causes and justifica- 
tion of secession is the last paper ever written for publication by 
that distinguished scientist of world-wide fame, Commodore M. 
F. Maury, who was not a speculative politician, but a man of 
spotless character and unbounded learning. It was written as a 
vindication of Virginia, but is equally applicable to each of the 
seceding States. It was published in Vol. i, Southern Historical 
Society Papers, pp. 49, 61. It was written in May, 1871, at his 
quiet mountain home long after the storms of war had subsided, 
and a short time before his death. It is so valuable in historic 
information, so clear and convincing as the dying testimonial of 
that great man, that it is reproduced and adopted entire. I hope 
that it will be carefully read by all who desire to know why the 
Southern States seceded from the Union. 


One hundred years ago we were thirteen British Colonies, remonstrating 
and disputing with the mother country in discontent. After some years spent 
in fruitless complaints against the policy of the British Government toward 
us, the colonies resolved to sever their connection with Great Britain, that 
they might be first independent, and then proceed to govern themselves in 
their own way. At the same time they took counsel together and made com- 
mon cause. They declared certain truths to be self-evident, and proclaimed 
the right of every people to alter or amend their forms of government as to 
them may seem fit. They pronounced this an inalienable right, and declared 
"that when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design on the 
part of the government to reduce a people to absolute despotism, it is their 
right, it is their duty, to throw off such government." In support of these 
declarations the people of that day, in the persons of their representatives, 


pledging themselves, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, went to war, and 
in support of their cause appealed to Divine Providence for protection. Under 
these doctrines we and our fathers grew up, and we were taught to regard 
them with reverence almost holy, and to believe in them with quite a religious 

In the war that ensued, the colonies triumphed ; and in the treaty of peace, 
Great Britain acknowledged each one of her revolted colonies to be a nation, 
endowed with all the attributes of sovereignty, independent of her, of each 
other and of all other temporal powers whatsoever. These new-born nations 
were New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Caro- 
lina, South Carolina, and Georgia — thirteen in all. 

At that time all the country west of the Alleghany Mountains was a wil- 
derness. All that part which lies north of the Ohio River and east of the 
Mississippi, called the Northwest Territory, and out of which the States of 
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a part of Minnesota have 
since been carved, belonged to Virginia. She exercised dominion over it, and in 
her resided the rights of undisputed sovereignty. These thirteen powers, which 
were then as independent of each other as France is of Spain, or Brazil is of 
Peru, or as any other nation can be of another, concluded to unite and form a 
compact, called the Constitution, the main objects of which were to establish 
justice, secure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, and 
promote the general welfare. To this end they established a vicarious gov- 
ernment, and named it the United States. This instrument had for its corner- 
stone the afore-mentioned inalienable rights. With the assertion of these 
precious rights — which are so dear to the hearts of all true Virginians — 
fresh upon their lips, each one of these thirteen States, signatories to this 
compact, delegated to this new government so much of her own sovereign 
powers as were deemed necessary for the accomplishment of its objects, re- 
serving to herself all the powers, prerogatives and attributes not specifically 
granted or specially enumerated. Nevertheless, Virginia, through abundant 
caution, when she fixed her seal to this Constitution, did so with the express 
declaration, in behalf of her people, that the powers granted under it might 
be resumed by them whenever the same should be perverted to their injury 
or oppression ; that "no right, of any denomination, can be canceled, abridged, 
restrained or modified by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Repre- 
sentatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department, or offi- 
cer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by 
the Constitution for those purposes." With this agreement, with a solemn 
appeal to the "Searcher of all hearts" for the purity of their intentions, our 
delegates, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, proceeded to 
accept and to ratify the Constitution for the Government of the United 
States. (Proceedings of the Virginia Convention, 1788, p. 28, Code of Vir- 
ginia, i860.) Thus the Government at Washington was created. 

But it did not go into operation until the other States — parties to the con- 
tract — had accepted by their act of signature and tacit agreement the condi- 
tions which Virginia required to be understood as the terms on which she ac- 
cepted the Constitution and agreed to become one of the United States. Thus 
these conditions became, to all intents and purposes, a part of that instrument 
itself; for it is a rule of law and a principle of right laid down, well under- 
stood and universally acknowledged, that if, in a compact between several 
parties, any one of them be permitted to enter into it on a condition, that con- 
dition enures alike to the benefit of all. 

Notwithstanding the purity of motive and singleness of purpose which 
moved Virginia to become one of the United States, sectional interests were 
developed, and the seeds of faction, strife, and discord appeared in the very 
convention which adopted the Constitution. At that time African negroes 


were bought and sold and held in slavery in all the States. They had been 
brought here by the Crown and forced upon Virginia when she was in the 
colonial state, in spite of her oft-repeated petitions and remonstrances against 
it; and now since she, with others, were independent and masters Qf them- 
selves, they desired to put an end forthwith to this traffic. To this the North 
objected, on the ground that her people were extensively engaged in kidnap- 
ping in Africa and transporting slaves thence for sale to Southern planters. 
They had, it was added, such interest at stake in this business that twenty 
years would be required to wind it up. At that time the political balance be- 
tween the sections was equal ; and the South, to pacify the North, agreed that 
the new government should have no power, until after twenty years should 
have elapsed, to restrict their traffic; and thus the North gained a lease and a 
right to fetch slaves from Africa into the South till 1808. That year, one of 
Virginia's own sons being President of the United States, an act was passed 
forbidding a continuance of the traffic, and declaring the further prosecution 
of it piracy. 

Virginia was the leader in the war of the Revolution, and her sons were the 
master-spirits of it, both in the field and in the cabinet. For an entire genera- 
tion after the establishment of the Government under the Constitution, four 
of her sons — with an interregnum of only four years — were called one after 
the other, to preside, each for a period of eight years, over the affairs of the 
young Republic and to shape its policy. In the meantime Virginia gave to the 
new Government the whole of her Northwest Territory, to be held by it in 
trust for the benefit of all the States alike. Under the wise rule of her illus- 
trious sons in the Presidential chair, the Republic grew and its citizens flour- 
ished and prospered as no people had ever done. 

During this time the African slave trade having ceased, the price of ne- 
groes rose in the South ; then the Northern people discovered that it would be 
better to sell their slaves to the South than to hold them, whereupon acts of 
so-called emancipation were passed in the North. They were prospective, and 
were to come in force after the lapse, generally, of twenty years (slavery did 
not cease in New York till 1827), which allowed the slave-holders among 
them ample time to fetch their negroes down and sell them to our people. This 
many of them did, and the North got rid of their slaves, not so much by emanci- 
pation or any sympathy for the blacks as by sale, and in consequence of her 

About this time also Missouri — into which the earlier settlers had carried 
their slaves — applied for admission into the Union as a State. The North op- 
posed it, on the ground that slavery existed there. The South appealed to the 
Constitution, called for the charter which created the Federal Government, and 
asked for the clause which gave Congress the power to interfere with the 
domestic institutions of any State or with any of her affairs, further than to 
see that her organic law insured a republican form of government to her peo- 
ple. Nay, she appealed to the force of treaty obligations; and reminded the. 
North that in the treaty with France for the acquisition of Louisiana, of 
which Missouri was a part, the public faith was pledged to protect the French 
settlers there, and their descendants, in their rights of property, which in- 
cluded slaves. The public mind became excited, sectional feelings ran high, 
and the Union was in danger of being broken up through Northern aggres- 
sion and congressional usurpations at that early day. To quiet the storm, 
a son of Virginia came forward as peace-maker, and carried through Con- 
gress a bill that is known as "The Missouri Compromise." So the danger 
was averted. This bill, however, was a concession, simple and pure, to the 
North on the part of the South, with no equivalent whatever, except the grat- 
ification of a patriotic desire to live in harmony with her sister States and 
preserve the Union. This compromise was to the effect that the Southern 
people should thereafter waive their right to go with their slaves into any 


part of the common territory north of the parallel of 36° 30' Thus was sur- 
rendered up to the North for settlement, at her own time and in her own 
way, more than two-thirds of the entire public domain, with equal rights with 
the South in the remainder. 

That posterity may fairly appreciate the extent of this exaction by the 
North, with the sacrifice made by the South to satisfy it, maintain the public 
faith, and preserve the Union, it is necessary to refer to a map of the country, 
and to remember that at that time neither Texas, New Mexico, California, 
nor Arizona belonged to the United States ; that the country west of the Mis- 
sissippi which fell under that compromise is that which was acquired from 
France in the purchase of Louisiana, and which includes west Minnesota, 
the whole of Iowa, Arkansas,, the Indian Territory, Kansas, Nebraska, Da- 
kota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, and 
Oregon, embracing an area of 1,360,000 square miles. Of this the South had 
the privilege of settling Arkansas alone, or less than four per cent, of the 
whole. The sacrifice thus made by the South for the sake of the Union, will 
be more fully appreciated when we reflect that under the Constitution South- 
ern gentlemen had as much right, and the same right, to go into the terri- 
tories with their slaves, that the men of the North had to carry with them there 
their apprentices and servants. Though this arrangement was so prejudicial 
to the South, though the Supreme Court decided it to be unconstitutional, null 
and void, the Southern people were still willing to stand by it ; but the North 
would not. Backed by majorities in Congress, she only became more and 
more aggressive. Furthermore, the magnificent country given by Virginia to 
the Union came to be managed in the political interests of the North. It was 
used for the encouragement of European emigration, and its settlement on her 
side of that parallel, while the idea was sought to be impressed abroad by 
false representations that south of 36° 30' in this country out-door labor is 
death to the white man, and that throughout the South generally labor was 
considered degrading. Such was the rush of settlers from abroad to the 
polar side of 36° 30' and for the cheap and rich lands of the Northwest Terri- 
tory, that the population of the North was rapidly and vastly increased — so 
vastly that when the war of 1861 commenced, the immigrants and the de- 
scendants of immigrants which the two sections had received from the Old 
World since this grant was made, amounted to not less than 7,000,000 souls 
more for the North than for the South. This increase destroyed the balance of 
power between the sections in Congress, placed the South hopelessly in the 
minority and gave the reins of the Government over into the hands of the 
Northern faction. Thus the two hundred and seventy millions of acres of the 
finest land on the continent which Virginia gave to the Government to hold in 
trust as a common fund, was so managed as greatly to benefit one section and 
do the other harm. Nor was this all. Large grants of land amounting to many 
millions of acres, were made from this domain to certain Northern States, for 
their railways and other works of internal improvement, for their schools and 
corporations ; but not an acre to Virginia. 

In consequence of the Berlin and Milan decrees, the orders in council, the 
embargo and the war which followed in 1812, the people of the whole country 
suffered greatly for the want of manufactured articles, many of which had be- 
come necessaries of life. Moreover, it was at that time against the laws of Eng- 
land for any artisan or piece of machinery used in her workshops to be sent to 
this country. Under these circumstances it was thought wise to encourage man- 
ufacturing in New England, until American labor could be educated for it, and 
the requisite skill acquired, and Southern statesmen took the lead in the pas- 
sage of a tariff to encourage and protect our manufacturing industries. But 
in course of time these restrictive laws in England were repealed, and it then 
became easier to import than to educate labor and skill. Nevertheless, the 
protection continued, and was so effectual that the manufacturers of New 


England began to compete in foreign markets with the manufacturers of Old 
England. Whereupon the South said, "Enough: the North has free trade 
with us; the Atlantic Ocean rolls between this country and Europe; the ex- 
pense of freight and transportation across it, with moderate duties for revenue 
alone, ought to be protection enough for these Northern industries. There- 
fore, let us do away with tariffs for protection. They have not, by reason 
of geographical law, turned a wheel in the South ; moreover, they have proved 
a grievous burden to our people." Northern statesmen did not see the case in 
that light; but fairness, right, and the Constitution were on the side of the 
South. She pointed to the unfair distribution of the public lands, the un- 
equal dispensation among the States of the Government favor and patronage, 
and to the fact that the New England manufacturers had gained a firm foot- 
ing and were flourishing. Moreover, peace, progress, and development had, 
since the end of the French Wars, dictated free trade as the true policy of all 
nations. Our Senators proceeded to demonstrate by example the hardships of 
submitting any longer to tariffs ior protection. The example was to this 
effect: The Northern farmer clips his hundred bales of wool, and the South- 
ern planter picks his hundred bales of cotton. So far they are equal, for the 
Government affords to each equal protection in person and property. That's 
fair, and there is no complaint. But the Government would not stop here. 
It went further — protected the industry of one section and taxed that of the 
other; for though it suited the farmer's interest and convenience to send his 
wool to a New England mill to have it made into cloth, it also suited in like 
degree the Southern planter to send his cotton to Old England to have it 
made into calico. And now came the injustice and the grievance. They both 
preferred the Charleston market, and they both, the illustration assumed, ar- 
rived by sea the same day and proceeded together, each with his invoice of 
one hundred bales, to the custom-house. There the Northern man is told that 
he may land his one hundred bales duty free ; but the Southern man is re- 
quired to leave forty of his .in the custom-house for the privilege of landing 
the remaining sixty. (The tariff at that time was forty per cent.) It was in 
vain for the Southerner to protest or to urge, "You make us pay bounties to 
Northern fishermen under the plea that it is a nursery for seamen. Is not 
the fetching and carrying of Southern cotton across the sea in Southern ships 
as much a nursery for seamen as the catching of codfish in Yankee smacks? 
But instead of allowing us a bounty for this, you exact taxes and require 
protection for our Northern fellow-citizens at the expense of Southern in- 
dustry and enterprise." The complaints against the tariff were at the end of 
ten or twelve years followed by another compromise in the shape of a modi- 
fied tariff, by which the South again gained nothing and the North every- 
thing. The effect was simply to lessen, not to abolish, the tribute money ex- 
acted for the benefit of Northern industries. 

Fifteen years before the war it was stated officially from the Treasury 
Department in Washington, that under the tariff then in force the self-sus- 
taining industries of the country were taxed in this indirect way in the 
sum of $80,000,000 annually, none of which went into the coffers of the 
Government, but all into the pockets of the protected manufacturer. The 
South, moreover, complained of the unequal distribution of the pub- 
lic expenditures; of unfairness in protecting, buoying, lighting, and sur- 
veying the coasts, and laid her complaints on grounds like these: for every 
mile of sea front in the North there are four in the South, yet there were 
four well-equipped dockyards in the North to one in the South; large sums 
of money had been expended for Northern, small for Southern defenses; 
navigation of the Southern coast was far more difficult and dangerous than 
that of the Northern, yet the latter was better lighted ; and the Southern coast 
was not surveyed by the Government until it had first furnished Northern ship- 


owners with good charts for navigating their waters and entering their har- 

Thus dealt by, there was cumulative dissatisfaction in the Southern mind 
toward the Federal Government, and Southern men began to ask each other, 
"Should we not be better off out of the Union than we are in it?" Nay, the 
public discontent rose to such a pitch in consequence of the tariff, that nullifi- 
cation was threatened, and the existence of the Union was again seriously 
imperilled, and dissolution might have ensued had not Virginia stepped in 
with her wise counsels. She poured oil upon the festering sores in the South- 
ern mind, and did what she could in the interests of peace ; but the wound 
could not be entirely healed ; Northern archers had hit too deep. 

The Washington Government was fast drifting toward centralization, and 
the result of all this Federal partiality, of this unequal protection and encour- 
agement, was that New England and the North flourished and prospered as 
no people have ever done in modern times. Scenes enacted in the Old World, 
twenty-eight hundred years ago, seemed now on the eve of repetition in the 
New. About the year 915 B. C., the twelve tribes conceived the idea of 
making themselves a great nation by centralization. They established a gov- 
ernment which, in three generations, by reason of similar burdens upon the 
people, ended in permanent separation. Solomon taxed heavily to build the 
temple and dazzle the nation with the splendor of his capital; his expendi- 
tures were profuse, and he made his name and kingdom fill the world with 
their renown. He died one hundred years after Saul was anointed, and then 
Jerusalem and the temple being finished, the ten tribes — supposing the neces- 
sity of further taxation had ceased — petitioned Rehoboam for a reduction of 
taxes, a repeal of the tariff. Their petition was scorned, and the world knows 
the result. The ten tribes seceded in a body, and there was war ; so thus there 
remained to the house of David only the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. They, 
like the North, had received the benefit of this taxation. The chief part of the 
enormous expenditures was made within their borders, and they, like New 
England, flourished and prospered at the expense of their brethren. 

By the Constitution, a citizen of the South had a right to pursue his fugi; 
tive slave into any of the States, apprehend and bring him back; but so un- 
friendly had the North become toward the South, and so regardless of her 
duties under the Constitution, that Southern citizens, in pursuing and at- 
tempting to apprehend runaway negroes in the North, were thrown into jail, 
maltreated, and insulted, despite of their rights. Northern people loaded the 
mails for the South with inflammatory publications inciting the negroes to 
revolt, and encouraging them to rise up, in servile insurrection, and murder 
their owners. Like tampering with the negroes was one among the causes 
which led Virginia into her original proposition to the other colonists, that 
they should all, for the common good and common safety, separate them- 
selves from Great Britain and strike for independent existence. In a resolu- 
tion unanimously adopted in convention for a declaration of such independ- 
ence, it is urged that the King's representative in Virginia was "tempting our 
slaves by every artifice to resort to him, and training and employing them 
against their masters." (Resolutions of Virginia for a Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, unanimously adopted 15th May, 1776, page 1, Code of Virginia, 
i860.) To counteract this attempt by the New England people to do the 
like, the legislatures of Virginia and other Southern States felt themselves 
constrained to curtail the privileges of the slave, to increase the patrols, and 
for the public safety to enact severe laws against the black man. This grated 
upon the generous feelings of our people the more,- because they were thus 
compelled in self-defense to spread hateful laws upon the statute-book of their 
State, and subject her fair fame to invidious criticisms by posterity, and this 
in consequence of the repeated attempt of the Northern people to tamper with 
the negroes and interfere with our domestic affairs. It was a shaft that sank 


deep and rankled long ; it brought to mind colonial times, and put into South- 
ern heads the idea of another separation. But this was not all. Societies 
were formed in the North to encourage our negroes to escape and to harbor 
the runaways; emissaries came down to inveigle them away; and while they 
were engaged at this, the Northern States aided and abetted by passing acts 
prohibiting their officers to assist the Southern citizen in the capture of run- 
aways, and hindering him from doing it himself. At length things came to 
such a pass that a Southern gentleman, notwithstanding his right, dared not 
when he went to the North, either on business or pleasure, to carry with him, 
as he formerly did, a body-servant. More harsh still — delicate mothers and 
emaciated invalids with their nurses, though driven from their Southern 
homes, as they often are, by pestilence or plague, dared not seek refuge in the 
more bracing climates of the North ; they were liable to be mobbed and to see 
their servants taken away by force, and when that was done, they found that 
Northern laws aiforded no protection. In short, our people had no longer 
equal rights in a common country. 

Finally, the aggressive and fanatical spirit of the North ran to such a 
pitch against us, that just before the Southern people began to feel that pa- 
tience and forbearance were both exhausted, a band of raiders, fitted out and 
equipped in the North, came down upon Virginia with sword and spear in 
hand. They commenced in the dead of night to murder our citizens, to arm 
the slaves, encouraging them to rise up, burn and rob, kill and slay through- 
out the South. The ringleader was caught, tried, and hung. Northern peo- 
ple regarded him as a martyr in a righteous cause. His body was carried to 
the North ; they paid homage to his remains, sang pjeans to his memory, and 
amidst jeers and taunts for Virginia, which to this day are reverberated 
through the halls of Congress, enrolled his name as one who had deserved 
well of his country. 

These acts were highly calculated to keep the Southern mind in a feverish 
state and in an unfriendly mood ; and there were other influences at work to 
excite sectional feelings and beget just indignation among the Southern peo- 
ple. The North was commercial, the South agricultural. Through their 
fast-sailing packets and steamers, Northern people were in constant com- 
munication with foreign nations ; the South rarely except through the North. 
Northern men and Northern society took advantage of this circumstance to 
our prejudice. They defamed the South and abused the European mind with 
libels and slanders and evil reports against us of a heinous character. They 
represented Southern people as a lawless and violent set, where men and 
women were without shame. They asserted, with all the effrontery of impu- 
dent falsehood, that the chief occupation of the gentlemen of Virginia was 
the breeding of slaves like cattle for the more Southern markets. To this 
day the whole South is suffering under this defamation of character ; for it is 
well-known that emigrants from Europe now refuse to come and settle in 
Virginia and the South on account of their belief in the stories against us 
with which their minds have been poisoned. 

This long list of grievances does not end here. The population of the 
North had, by reason of the vast numbers of foreigners that had been induced 
to settle there, become so great that the balance of power in Congress was 
completely destroyed. The Northern people became more tyrannical in their 
disposition, Congress more aggressive in their policy. In every branch of 
the Government the South was in a hopeless minority, and completely at the 
mercy of an unscrupulous majority for their rights in the Union. Em- 
boldened by their popular majorities on the hustings, the master spirits of the 
North now proclaimed the approach of an "irrepressible conflict" with the 
South, and their representative men in Congress preached the doctrine of a 
"higher law," confessing that the policy about to be pursued in relation to 
Southern affairs was dictated by a rule of conduct unknown to the Constitu- 


tion, not contained in the Bible, but sanctioned, as they said, by some higher 
law than the Bible itself. Thus finding ourselves at the mercy of faction and 
fanaticism, the Presidential election for i860 drew nigh. The time for put- 
ting candidates in the field was at hand. The North brought out their can- 
didate, and by their platform pledged him to acts of unfriendly legislation 
against us. The South warned the North and protested, the political leaders 
in some of the Southern States publicly declaring that if Mr. Lincoln, their 
nominee, were elected, the States would not remain in the Union. He was 
truly a sectional candidate. He received no vote in the South, but was, under 
the provisions of the Constitution, duly elected nevertheless ; for now the poll 
of the North was large enough to elect whom she pleased. 

When the result of this election was announced, South Carolina and the 
Gulf States each proceeded to call a convention of her people ; and they, in 
the exercise of their inalienable right to alter and abolish the form of govern- 
ment and to institute a new one, resolved to withdraw from the Union peace- 
ably, if they could. They felt themselves clear as to their right, and thrice 
armed ; for they remembered that they were sovereign people, and called to 
mind those precious rights that had been solemnly proclaimed, and in which 
and for which we and our fathers before us had the most abiding faith, rever- 
ence and belief. Prominent among these was, as we have seen, the right of 
each one of these States to consult her own welfare and withdraw or remain 
in the Union in obedience to its dictates and the judgment of her own people. 
So they sent commissioners to Washington to propose a settlement, the Con- 
federate States offering to assume their quota of the debt of the United States, 
and asking for their share of the common property. This was refused. 

In the meantime Virginia assembled her people in grand council, too; but 
she refused to come near the Confederate States in their councils. She had 
laid the corner-stone of the Union, her sons were its chief architects ; and 
though she felt that she and her sister States had been wronged without cause, 
and had reason, good and sufficient, for withdrawing from a political associa- 
tion which no longer afforded domestic tranquillity, or promoted the general 
welfare, or answered its purposes, yet her love for the Union and the Consti- 
tution was -strong, and the idea of pulling down, without having first ex- 
hausted all her persuasives, and tried all means to save what cost her so 
much, was intolerable. She thought the time for separation had not come, 
and waited first to try her own "mode and measure of redress" ; she consid- 
ered that it should not be such as the Confederate States had adopted. More- 
over, by standing firm she hoped to heal the breach, as she had done on sev- 
eral occasions before. She asked all the States to meet her in a peace con- 
gress. They did so, and the North being largely in the majority, threw out 
Southern propositions and rejected all the efforts of Virginia at conciliation. 
North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas all remained in the Union, awaiting 
the action of our State, which urged the Washington Government not to at- 
tempt to coerce the seceded States, or force them with sword and bayonet 
back into the Union — a thing, she held, which the charter that created the 
Government gave it no authority to do. 

Regardless of these wise counsels and of all her rightful powers, the 
North mustered an army to come against the South ; whereupon, seeing the 
time had come, and claiming the right which she had especially reserved not 
only for herself, but for all the States, to withdraw from the Union, the 
grand old Commonwealth did not hesitate to use it. She prepared to meet 
the emergency. Her people had already been assembled in convention, and 
they, in the persons of their representatives, passed the Ordinance of Seces- 
sion, which separated her from the North and South, and left her alone, 
again, a free, sovereign and independent State. This done, she sounded the 
notes of warlike preparation. She called upon her sons who were in the 
service of the Washington Government to confess their allegiance to her, 


resign their places, and rally around her standard. The true men among 
them came. In a few days she had an army of 60,000 men in the field; but 
her policy was still peace, armed peace, not war. Assuming the attitude of 
defense, she said to the powers of the North, "Let no hostile foot cross my 
borders." Nevertheless, they came with fire and sword; battle was joined; 
victory crowned her banners on many a well-fought field ; but she and her 
sister States cut off from the outside world by the navy which they had 
helped to establish for the common defense, battled together against fearful 
odds at home for four long years, but were at last overpowered by mere num- 
bers, and then came disaster. Her sons who fell died in defense of their 
country, their homes, their rights, and all that makes native land dear to the 
hearts of men. * * * 

As to the right of secession, I give below some extracts from 
Northern newspapers and eminent speakers in that section after 
Mr. Lincoln had been elected President, showing that a large 
number of the people of the North were, at that time, opposed to 
coercion and war under any circumstances. 

The New York Tribune, Republican in politics and supporter 
of Mr. Lincoln, of November 9, i860, said: 

We hold, with Jefferson, to the inalienable right of communities to alter 
or abolish forms of government that have become oppressive or injurious; 
and if the Cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union 
than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace. The right to secede 
may be a revolutionary right, but it exists nevertheless; and we do not see 
how one party can have a right to do what another party had a right to pre- 
vent. We must ever resist the asserted right of any State to remain in the 
Union and nullify or deny the laws thereof : to withdraw from the Union is 
quite another matter. And, whenever a considerable section of our Union 
shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measures de- 
signed to keep her in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one sec- 
tion is pinned to the residue by bayonets. 

A great truth, concisely stated, but the Tribune went back on 

The Albany Argus, about the same time, said : 

We sympathize with and justify the South as far as this: their rights 
have been invaded to the extreme limit possible within the forms of the Con- 
stitution; and, beyond this limit, their feelings have been insulted and their 
interests and honor assailed by almost every possible form of denunciation 
and invective ; and if we deemed it certain that the real animus of the Repub- 
lican party could be carried into the administration of the Federal Govern- 
ment, and become the permanent policy of the nation, we should think that all 
the instincts of self-preservation and of manhood rightfully impelled them to 
a resort to revolution and a separation from the Union, and we would ap- 
plaud them and wish them God-speed in the adoption of such remedy. 

In a subsequent issue the same paper said : 

If South Carolina, or any other State, through a convention of her people, 
shall formally separate herself from the Union, probably both the present and 


the next Executive will simply let her alone and quietly allow all the func- 
tions of the Federal Government within her limits to be suspended. Any other 
course would be madness; as it would at once enlist all the Southern States 
in the controversy and plunge the whole country into a civil war. * * * 
As a matter of policy and wisdom, therefore, independent of the question of 
right, we should deem resort to force most disastrous. 

The New York Herald, a journal which claimed to be independ- 
ent in politics, early in December, i860, said: 

Each State is organized as a complete government, holding the purse and 
wielding the sword, possessing the right to break the tie, if the confederation 
as a nation might break a treaty, and to repel coercion as a nation might 
repel invasion. * * * Coercion, if it were possible, is out of the question. 

The Detroit, Michigan, Free Press, a leading paper, had the 
following : 

If there shall not be a change in the present seeming purpose to yield to 
no accommodation of the national difficulties, and if troops shall be raised in 
the North to march against the people of the South, a fire in the rear will be 
opened upon such troops which will either stop their march altogether or 
wonderfully accelerate it. 

The Union, Bangor, Maine, spoke no less decidedly to the same 
effect : 

The difficulties between the North and the South must be compromised, or 
the separation of the States shall be peaceable. If the Republican party re- 
fuse to go to the full length of the Crittenden amendment — which is the very 
least the South can or ought to take — then, here in Maine, not a Democrat 
will be found who will raise his arm against his brethren of the South. From 
one end of the State to the other let the cry of the Democracy be, Compromise 
or Peaceable Separation. 

At a public meeting largely attended in New York on the last 
day of January, 1861, after six States had seceded, Hons. James 
S. Thayer and Horatio Seymour spoke against the coercion of 
the seceding States and were loudly applauded by the multitude. 

Chancellor Walworth, a man of great learning, a distinguished 
judge, and at that time a man of large experience, in speaking to 
that meeting uttered the following language : 

It would be brutal, in my opinion, to send men to butcher our own broth- 
ers of the Southern States, as it would be to massacre them in the Northern 
States. We are told, however, that it is our duty to, and we must, enforce 
the laws. But why — and what laws are to be enforced? There were laws 
that were to be enforced in the time of the American Revolution. * * * 
Did Lord Chatham go for enforcing those laws ? No ; he gloried in defense 
of the liberties of America. He made that memorable declaration in the 
British Parliament, "If I were an American citizen, instead of being, as I am, 
an Englishman, I never would submit to such laws — never, never, never!" 


And subsequently New York City and Brooklyn furnished one 
hundred and forty- four regiments to aid coercion : And two of 
her most distinguished generals, Sickles and Slocum, were Dem- 
ocrats in politics. 

A majority of the people in the Northern States were opposed 
to any attempt to coerce the seceding States to return to the 
Union. They knew that it would be resisted and would provoke a 
bloody war, and if successful would change the fundamental 
principles of the government on which the Constitution was 
founded, from a great Federation based upon mutual concessions 
and equality of rights, as States, and convert it into a centralized 
nationality with power to govern the States by force. This was 
involved in the destruction of State sovereignty by their offspring 
— the United States Government. It was created by the States, 
but for which it would never have existed. While there were 
independent irritations, the bed-rock of the struggle between the 
old Union and the Southern Confederacy was the Hamiltonian 
versus the Jeffersonian theory of government. 

The Congress which met in December, i860, had the terrible 
responsibility upon it of trying to avert the impending storm and 
in its stead to restore peace to the country. Some efforts were 
made, but none of them met with even a temporary success, save 
one which was the passage by each house, by the requisite two- 
thirds vote, of a thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, which 
was in these words, to wit : "No amendment shall be made to the 
Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power 
to abolish, or interfere, within any State, with the domestic insti- 
tutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service 
by the laws of said State." 

This passed the house by a vote of 133 to 65, but only seven of 
these were Republicans. The sixty-five negative votes were all 
Republicans, with Thaddeus Stevens, Owen Lovejoy, Anson 
Burlingame, Conklin, Bingham, and Grow as the leaders. 

The Senate adopted it by a vote of 24 to 12, precisely the 
requisite two-thirds. Four Southern Senators who voted for it 
some time after withdrew to go with the seceding States. Eight 
Republican Senators voted for it. Seward, Fessenden, and Cal- 
lemer did not vote. The amendment, had it been ratified, would 
have fixed slavery for all time as a State institution, which it was, 
and entrenched it securely in the Federal Constitution, so that no 
power but that of the State where it existed could ever have abol- 


ished it, or interfered with it. But the amendment did not apply 
to the territories, and in that it was not satisfactory to the South. 
The amendment was submitted to the States for ratification, but 
was ratified by only two — Maryland and Ohio. The Southern 
States seemed so bent on secession at that date that it embarrassed 
the action of the other States in considering this amendment, and 
rendered the effort almost hopeless to thus reconcile the differ- 
ences and heal the breach; and when Fort Sumter was fired on, 
Friday morning, April 12, 1861, all the hopes of reconciliation, 
or compromise, were blotted out in the North, and that thir- 
teenth amendment was dead. The next one which came to stay 
was in 1865, and provided that "Neither slavery nor involuntary 
servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party 
shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United 
States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." The proposi- 
tions of the House Committee of thirty-three members to admit 
New Mexico, as a slave State, and to amend the fugitive-slave 
law, so that the United States authorities should surrender 
escaped fugitives to the authorities of the State in which the serv- 
ice was alleged to be due, and the question to be tried before a 
jury, etc., passed the House, but were never acted on by the Sen- 
ate, for the same reasons that the amendment failed to secure 
further consideration by the States. 



A General Conference and What Was Proposed to Be Done — Possibilities of 
Co-operation — Cause of the Loss of Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland — 
Firing on Sumter the Beginning of the War — The Proposition to Fight 
Under the Old Flag — How Foreign Recognition Might Have Been Pro- 

There was a general conference of delegates from all the States 
North and South, held at the instance of Virginia, but no sub- 
stantial results were reached. 

In the first chapter it is mentioned that there were among 
prominent Southern men those who advocated co-operation of all 
the Southern States; that is, that each State should, by appoint- 
ing delegates to a general convention, confer together and agree 
upon a common ground of action for the maintenance of their 
common rights as States within the Union ; and if that should be 
found impracticable, to act together in withdrawing from it, or 
whatever might be determined as best. But this was vigorously 
opposed by hot-headed Southerners, who wanted hasty action and 
no delay. They wanted to secede before breakfast. While this 
class urged decision and speedy action, they were good and true 
men, and not wholly without reason for their course. It was the 
dilatory conservatism of the Border States which gave them over 
into the hands of the coercionists. The sympathizers with the 
South, all who were opposed to using the United States Army to* 
drive the seceding States back into the Union, by dilatory action, 
were manacled by the agents of the Union in all the Border States. 
Hence the apprehension of such results flowing from the delay of 
a convention on co-operation, caused the ultra Southerners, who 
keenly felt the wrongs which the South for years had endured, 
to bitterly oppose that policy. Their slogan was: "He who 
hesitates is a dastard and he who doubts is damned." 

Had such a convention been held, attended by representative 
delegations, such an able body of men would have been brought 
together as would at once have awakened the gravest apprehen- 


sions among the people of the North and aroused to determined 
action the conservative and thoughtful men of the entire country. 
Men like Senator Crittenden, of Kentucky, could no longer have 
played a waiting game hoping for peace to turn up and avert a 
war ; every man in the South would have been compelled to take 
sides at once. This was the only possibility of avoiding war. 
The great States of Kentucky and Missouri were by large majori- 
ties opposed to coercion and a resolution against it would have 
passed almost unanimously. The State of Maryland would have 
been in such a convention and the united voice of the whole South 
would have been so deterrent and serious as in all probability to 
have settled the controversy without war. Virginia took this 
course and assumed the attitude of armed neutrality, and prepared 
to maintain it. She appealed to all for peace and Union, but 
when the Lincoln administration called for 75,000 volunteers and 
proclaimed the purpose to coerce the seceding States back into the 
Union, she called a convention of her people, passed an ordinance 
of secession and cast her lot with her Southern sisters. All honor 
to the Grand Old Commonwealth. 

Kentucky's Governor, Magoffin, to Lincoln's demand for troops 
responded in the same spirit as Governor Letcher, of Virginia, 
utterly refusing to comply. He called the Legislature of Ken- 
tucky together and that body passed a strong resolution against 
coercion and declared in favor of armed neutrality, which it was 
utterly unable to maintain, as subsequent events abundantly 
proved. Governor Jackson, of Missouri, refused to furnish troops 
for coercion purposes and the legislature approved his action. 

Henry Clay for a long period was a compromise leader, a Whig 
and Union man, but toward the latter days of his career he lost 
his prestige and power to control and saw the State, under the 
leadership of John C. Breckenridge, pass over to the control of 
the State's rights Democracy. Breckenridge had carried the State 
for the Presidency in i860, and was the one man who could have 
kept that State in line with Virginia. But he, as Vice-President, 
presided over the United States Senate until Lincoln was 
inaugurated, and then was sworn in as a Senator from Kentucky, 
and took his seat vainly indulging the hope of a compromise of 
the impending trouble, and there he remained until, through the 
machinations of secret Federal agents and the Union men, Ken- 
tucky was committed to the Union cause and began the work of 
coercion. There was no capable leader for the States' rights 
Democrats to follow. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner made some 


attempt at it, but backed down, as he supposed, in obedience to 
the popular will. They each subsequently saw their error and 
fought manfully for the Confederacy, but it was too late. Had 
that State been properly directed it would have joined the Con- 
federacy and brought to it more than one hundred thousand 
soldiers. From Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland would have 
joined the Southern army not less than a quarter of a million of 
the finest volunteer soldiers, with a vast amount of supplies. 

It is doubtful, however, whether such a convention could have 
accomplished a peaceable adjustment. The majority of the 
people North and South were utterly opposed to any war. But 
the Republican minority, in consequence of the split in the Demo- 
cratic party, had won the Presidency, was coming into power, and 
wanted above everything else a blood-letting to strengthen their 
party and solidify the people of the North in its support. The 
Confederate Government was very anxious to have a peaceable 
separation from the Union, and sent commissioners to Washing- 
ton to negotiate for it. The administration would not receive 
them officially, but Seward, the Secretary of State, personally 
gave assurances to the commissioners through Justice John A. 
Campbell, of the Supreme Court, that the status of Fort Sumter 
should not be changed without due notice ; and then in the face 
of this assurance the attempt was made to provision and re- 
enforce Sumter without notice. They thus provoked the Con- 
federates to fire on it, and succeeded to their heart's content. 
The trap was skilfully set and judiciously baited, and President 
Davis walked right into it and was caught. The cry went 
through the North with lightning speed that the war had! com- 
menced, that a transport had attempted to carry supplies to a few 
starving soldiers who were shut up in Fort Sumter in the harbor 
of Charleston, S. C, and that the rebels opened fire on the fort 
and had forced it to surrender. Suppose that Mr. Davis had 
refrained and instructed Beauregard not to fire on Sumter, 
as a matter of policy it would have disappointed the Administra- 
tion. It would have been but a short time before Mr. Lincoln's 
policy would have forced upon him the initiative. The United 
States would soon have fired the first gun and then there would 
have been no room for dodging or evading the issue. The entire 
country would then have seen that the Administration of Lincoln 
had begun the war of coercion. As it was, the shallow-pated 
and unreliable Democrats and a large majority of the good people 


North, who had held public meetings and resolved against coer- 
cing the seceding States to return to the Union, went over, 
with a few honorable exceptions, to the Lincoln Administra- 
tion, and made haste to volunteer and aid in the subjugation 
of the Southern States. All of the fanatics and demagogue poli- 
ticians up there desired war for the purpose of jobbery and to 
gratify their hatred of Southern people. 

In consequence of the natural inclination of mankind to adhere 
to old institutions, the dissenters from a church who undertake 
to establish a new denomination, and the seceders from an old 
government who undertake to establish a new one, always have 
the laboring oar, or in legal phrase hold the affirmative. They 
are the initiators of the movement and should they cease exertion 
the cause collapses. The inactive or waiting policy rarely accom- 
plishes anything, and in a revolution never. There were many 
good conservative Southern men who went with the majority of 
their Southern brethren, but protested against secession and 
claimed that the Southern States should fight for their rights in 
the Union and under the old flag. It always seemed to the writer 
that this declaration was a cloak for a man's Unionism or that 
such men were lamentably ignorant of the character of the United 
States Government and the inevitable consequences of such a 
fight as that. In the first place it was impracticable for the 
Southern States to have fought under the old flag. Armies can- 
not be raised and maintained without some kind of government 
behind them. Money, arms, munitions, quartermasters' and 
commissary stores, must be had in abundance to carry on war. 
Transportation facilities for troops and supplies must be had. 
How could the railroads have been paid for such service without 
a government ? Nothing but an organized government could have 
done these things. To have fought under the old flag and in the 
Union against the policy of Lincoln and his party who were in 
possession of the Government in all its departments would have 
been supreme folly — a miserable fiasco. 

The Southern people have always denied that they were 
"rebels." They have always claimed that secession was not 
rebellion, but a peaceable means of withdrawing from the Union 
under the reserved powers of each State. 

To have fought in the Union under the old flag would have 
been rebellion, according to every code of law, and every one who 
participated, merely on the ground that its internal policy was 


contrary to the right of the rebels, would have been a rebel against 
the Government of the United States, a regular constitutional 
government. Every one who participated would according to 
law have subjected himself to the death penalty for treason. 
Such a fight would from the start have been a miserable failure 
and would have soon collapsed with the conviction and execution 
of a few hundreds of the leaders. 

An organized government was an absolute necessity and the 
Confederates were wise in that. But the adoption of a permanent 
constitution and government was a mistake. It was not adapted 
to a revolutionary condition, often hampered and embarrassed the 
Confederate authorities, and led to conflicts between them and the 
States. The States of Georgia and North Carolina, through their 
Governors, Brown and Vance, became conspicuous illustrations. 

It was contended by Mr. Davis and other prominent men that 
the adoption of a permanent constitution and government of the 
Confederacy would go far toward securing foreign recognition. 
This proved to be a delusion — an idle dream. 

The fact is, that the Confederates attached too much importance 
and were too confident of foreign recognition. The incident of 
the capture of Commissioners Mason and Slidell from a British 
mail steamer and the action of the British 1 Government in demand- 
ing their restoration was used as an argument that the said gov- 
ernment would soon recognize the Confederacy. But that gov- 
ernment was never made to see its interest in so doing. 

The Government of Great Britain has risen to the highest 
importance and greatest power of any nation in the world by the 
uniform and selfish policy of pursuing that course which is most 
certain to put money in the purse. John Bull makes loud pro- 
fessions of religion, the dispensation of charity and intelligence, 
but he always sees these good things only where his commercial 
interests lie. Practically, free trade for a number of years, open 
ports to his ships with the vast cotton products for their carrying 
trade, and vast undeveloped resources of the Southern States 
assured by treaty as accessible, would have secured the recognition 
of the Confederate Government by Great Britain. Then France 
would surely have followed. 



Meeting of the Provisional Congress — Adoption of a Confederate Constitu- 
tion — Inauguration of President Davis — Cradle of the Confederacy — 
Transfer to Richmond — Names of All Delegates. 

On the 4th day of February, 1861, the Provisional Congress, 
composed of delegates from the seceded States, assembled in the 
Senate Chamber of the Capitol Building on the hill which over- 
looks the town in the valley below, the Alabama River, and the 
big bend beyond. This meeting of those delegates, generally men 
of note and! several of great distinction in different departments 
of life, made it one of the most notable events in American his- 
tory. It was called a Provisional Congress, but in fact was at 
first only a great conference. It was organized by electing 
Howell Cobb, of Georgia, to preside, as he had been Speaker of 
the House of Representatives of the United States and was known 
to be a very capable presiding officer as well as a man of learning 
and ability. The writer was a spectator and saw the organiza- 
tion. There were no forensic displays; the general aspect was 
that of earnestness, gravity and solemnity. Conferring together, 
all were of the opinion that interest, common sympathy, homo- 
geneity and security admonished the States they represented to 
unite as speedily as was practicable. They put their heads together 
and the fourth day thereafter adopted a provisional constitution 
for the Confederate States of America. This action would seem 
too hasty for the work to have received due deliberation, but it 
contained a provision that within one year a permanent constitu- 
tion should be adopted, whereupon the provisional should cease. 
Therein there was haste and inconsiderateness. Inside of twelve 
months a permanent constitution was adopted. It was hastened 
because it was believed that it would accelerate recognition of the 
Confederacy by foreign governments, which proved to be a mis- 
take. It was found that in the turbid waters of administration, 
through which it had to pass, it proved an obstruction and in 


many instances was violated. The provisional government was 
better adapted to the exigencies which subsequently confronted 
the Confederate Government. The next step taken by the Pro- 
visional Congress was to select skilful engineers to guide and 
direct the great machine they had constructed when the motive 
power was applied to it. We give in a subsequent chapter on 
Jefferson Davis how and why it was that he was elected President, 
and note the election of Alexander H. Stephens as Vice-President. 
We give herein a picture of Mr. Davis delivering his inaugural 
address standing upon the marble steps of the west front of the 
Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., forty-three years before the publica- 
tion of this book. From that day, February 18, 1861, that old 
Capitol Building has been called "The cradle of the Confederacy." 
It is visited annually by numerous sightseers. 

The next thing done by the Provisional Congress was to pro- 
vide the motive power to drive the machinery of the government 
which it had formed, and this it did by the enactment of various 
revenue measures, but neglected the most important, which was 
to establish a credit with Europe, which might have been done 
with cotton as the basis. 

The provisional constitution was modeled after the Constitu- 
tion of the United States, and the powers conferred by it were 
ample for all practical purposes of government during the storms 
then impending. 

On the 2 1 st day of May, the States of Virginia, North Caro- 
lina, Tennessee and Arkansas, having seceded and joined the Con- 
federacy, the Congress then in session at Montgomery resolved 
to move the Capital to Richmond, Va., with all the records, 
archives, etc. This was believed to be good policy, as Virginia 
was so near to Washington, and so revered by the Southern people 
as "the mother of States and statesmen," and was the first State 
which the Lincoln administration intended to overrun and sub- 
jugate; it was therefore wise to transfer the Confederate Gov- 
ernment to Richmond, concentrate her forces, and with the brave 
sons of the Old Dominion meet the invaders at her borders. 

The following are the names of the delegates from each State 
to the Provisional Congress, without regard to the date at which 
any of them entered or from any cause ceased to be members, up 
to the ratification of the permanent constitution : 

'.:. r*- 


4*''"*" i v ■' i \ ■ » Js"' ' 


Stephens Yancey Davis Cobb 


(This picture is a facsimile of a photograph taken on the spot, in front of the State Capitol,, 
at Montgomery, Alabama, February 18th, 1861, while the audience were at prayer, and a 
few seconds after Mr. Davis had taken the oath of office as President of the Confederate 
States, which was administered to him by Howell Cobb. The lime of the taking of the 
photograph was at one o'clock P. M., as the Capitol clock at the top of the picture will- 



Members of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States from 
February 4, 1861, to February 17, 1862. 


Richard W. Walker. 
Robert H. Smith. 
Jabez L. M. Curry. 
William P. Chilton. 
Stephen F. Hale. 
Colin J. McRae. 
John Gill Shorter. 
Thomas Fearn. 
David P. Lewis. 
Nicholas Davis. 
H. C. Jones. 
Cornelius Robinson. 


Robert W Johnson. 
Albert Rust. 
Hugh F. Thomason. 
W. W. Watkins. 
Augustus H. Garland. 


Thomas B. Monroe. 
Henry C. Burnett. 
Thomas Johnson. 
John J. Thomas. 
Theodore L. Burnett. 
Daniel P. White. 
L. H. Ford. 
George B. Hodge. 
John M. Elliott. 
George W. Ewing. 


John Perkins, Jr. 
Alexander De Clouet. 
Duncan F. Kenner. 
Edward Sparrow. 
Henry Marshall. 
Charles M. Conrad. 


Wiley P. Harris. 
Walker Brooke. • 
William S. Wilson. 
William S. Barry. 
James T. Harrison. 
Alexander M. Clayton. 
J. A. P. Campbell. 
Jehu A. Orr. 
Alexander B. Bradford. 


George G. Vest. 
Casper W. Bell. 
Aaron H. Conrow. 
Thomas A. Harris. 
John B. Clark. 
Robert L. Y. Peyton. 


J. Patton Anderson. 
James B. Owens. 
Jackson Morton. 
George T. Ward. 
John P. Sanderson. 


Robert Toombs. 
Howell Cobb. 
Francis S. Bartow. 
Martin J. Crawford. 
Eugenius A. Nisbet. 
Benjamin H. Hill. 
Augustus R. Wright. 
Thomas R. R. Cobb. 
Augustus H. Kenan. 
Alexander H. Stephens. 
Thomas M. Foreman. 
Nathan Bass. 


George Davis. 
W W Avery. 
W N. H. Smith. 
Thomas D. McDowell. 
A. W. Venable. 
John M. Morehead. 
R. C. Puryear. 
A. T. Davidson. 
Burton Craige. 
Thomas Ruffin. 


R. Barnwell Rhett, Sr. 
Robert W. Barnwell. 
Lawrence M. Keitt. 
James Chesnut, Jr. 
Christopher G. Memminger. 
W. Porcher Miles. 
Thomas J. Withers. 
William W. Boyce. 
James L. Orr. 


Robert L. Caruthers. 
Thomas M. Jones. 
J. H. Thomas. 
John F. House. 
John D. C. Atkins. 
David M. Currin. 
W. H. DeWitt. 


John Gregg. 
Thomas N. Waul. 
William B. Ochiltree. 
John H. Reagan. 
Williamson S. Oldham. 
John Hemphill. 
Louis T. Wigfall. 



The Military Situation — McDowell Advances Upon Beauregard — First Battle 
of Manassas — The Cause of the Adoption of the Confederate Battle- 
Flag — Beauregard's Mistake — President Davis on the Field — Battle of 
Ball's Bluff — Affair at Dranesville — Winter Quarters on Bull Run. 

The military situation in Virginia about this time was as 
follows : 

The State had raised a volunteer army of fifty thousand men, 
and Robert E. Lee having resigned from the old army to go with 
his State, had been made a major-general and put in command 
of the State troops, which as soon as his State joined its fortune 
with the Confederacy were transferred to that government. Con- 
federate troops from other States were at once ordered to Vir- 
ginia to meet the invasion then being organized at Washington 
and other points. One Confederate army, under Brigadier- 
General Joseph E. Johnston, was at Harper's Ferry confronting 
Patterson's Federal army. Another Confederate army, under 
Brigadier-General Peter Gustavus Toutant Beauregard!, was at 
Manassas Junction and along Bull Run to confront and resist a 
Federal army under Gen. Irwin McDowell. A third army of 
Confederates was assembled at Norfolk and on the Peninsula 
between the James and York rivers, under Brigadier-Generals 
Huger and John B. Magruder, to resist an advance of the Federals 
from that direction under Gen. B. F- Butler. 

It soon became apparent to the Confederate authorities that 
McDowell's corps would advance on Beauregard at once. It was 
the Federal programme for Patterson to advance upon Johnston 
in the Valley, not to engage him seriously, but to hold him there 
and keep him from reenforcing Beauregard, who was sixty miles 
away by the nearest march, through one of the gaps in the Blue 
Ridge Mountains. In the early part of July it was known to the 
Confederate authorities that McDowell was to move on Beaure- 
gard's position. The latter arranged his troops along Bull Run 


and at the different fords and bridges. Ewell's brigade was on the 
right at Union Mills, and Holmes's brigade and six guns in the 
rear as a reserve, and! his other five brigades strung out north- 
ward up that stream. Johnston was advised by the Secretary of 
War of the probable move to be made on Beauregard and to hold 
his troops in readiness to deceive and run away from Patterson 
and reenforce Beauregard at the proper time. About the middle 
of July McDowell moved with Brigadier-General Tyler's division 
in the advance. That division arrived at Blackburn's Ford on the 
1 8th and had a lively skirmish with the Confederates on the 
opposite side of the Run. Tyler withdrew and reconnoitered the 
stream northward. The War Department telegraphed Johnston 
that Beauregard was attacked and to hurry to his support. He 
eluded Patterson and on the night of the 20th he arrived at 
Manassas with the brigades of Bee, Jackson and Bartow Though 
Johnston ranked Beauregard, he allowed the latter's plan of battle 
to stand. But owing to the movements of the enemy and blun- 
dering of staff officers the next day the plan was rendered nuga- 
tory. Johnston merely aided and counseled Beauregard, and 
allowed him to conduct the Confederate side of the battle. 

On the morning of July 21 McDowell crossed Bull Run at 
Sudley's Ford and proceeded to turn the Confederate left, but 
was met by Wheat's Louisiana Tiger battalion and Evans's bri- 
gade. They made a stubborn resistance, but were beaten back until 
reenforced by Bee's and Bartow's brigades, which checked the 
progress of the Federals until they were reenforced, when the 
Confederates were again driven until reenforced by Jackson near 
the Henry House. It was at this point that General Bee, 
endeavoring to rally his men, said: "There stands Jackson like 
a stone wall; let us determine to die where we are and we will 
conquer." A few minutes later Bee was killed. Jackson, though 
wounded, remained in the fight to its close, and was ever after 
known as "Stonewall" Jackson. 

Bonham, Longstreet and D. R. Jones's brigades had been ordered 
to attack the flank of McDowell's reserves at Centerville and were 
proceeding to execute the order. At this critical moment all the 
Federal artillery which could be spared from other parts of the 
field was concentrated on the Confederate left and was making 
some inroads into their ranks ; this was late in the evening, when 
a body of troops were seen approaching from a westerly direction. 
Beauregard and his staff officers turned their field glasses on 


them and decided that they were Union troops who had turned 
their flank, and thereupon Beauregard sent one of his staff as fast 
as his horse could carry him to cancel the order and have Bon- 
ham's division recross to the western side of Bull Run, so as to 
aid in repelling these new troops or to aid in a retreat. When 
they approached nearer they were discovered to be the brigades 
of E. Kirby Smith and Elzy from the Valley, whose officers, 
making haste to the battle, halted the trains, disembarked and 
marched across the plain. Like the arrival of Desaix at Marengo, 
they were just in time to turn the tide of battle and save the day. 
The Federal troops were soon in retreat. The mistake as to the 
character of the troops, it was said, was the strong resemblance 
between the then Confederate flag and that of the United States. 
This caused a change and finally the adoption of the Confederate 
battle-flag. When McDowell advanced he had 45,000 men in his 
command. At the battle Beauregard had, including the troops 
which arrived from Johnston's army, 31,860 men. McDowell, 
with men who actually fought, crossed Bull Run with 18,500. 
The Confederates actually engaged numbered 18,053. McDowell's 
army was accompanied by some members of Congress and fine 
ladies, who had along wine and delicacies for a feast on the 
capture of Richmond. They came on to see the cowardly rebels 
run and to make a holiday of it. Notwithstanding that among 
the troops were several regiments and batteries of regulars, when 
the tide turned against them, neither McDowell nor any of his 
under officers could halt them or maintain order. Sykes's brigade 
of regulars alone excepted, they soon became a fleeing mob. They 
were thrown into a panic and utterly demoralized. They cut the 
horses loose from the ladies' carriages and rode them away. One 
Irishman inquired of his colonel, "Is it a fact that the bloody 
rebels are retreating afther us ?" The colonel told him that it was 
true, and he broke ranks and took to the woods. 

The total losses in the Confederate army aggregated 1,982, and 
the Federal losses 3,333 officers and men and 25 cannon. Long- 
street says that when the order was renewed for an attack near 
Centerville, and his brigade advanced, they found utensils on the 
fire cooking and vast supplies of provisions which had been 
abandoned ; and that when his and Bonham's brigades formed in 
line of battle, in full view of the disorderly retreating column, 
that he ordered the captain of his battery to open fire. He made 
ready to do so. He says in his book, page 52 : 


As the guns were about to open, there came a message that the enemy, 
instead of being in precipitate retreat, was marching around to attack the 
Confederate right. With this report came orders, or reports of orders, for 
the brigades to return to their positions behind the Run. I denounced the 
report as absurd, claimed to know a retreat, such as was before me and ordered 
that the batteries open fire, when Major Whiting, of General Johnston's 
staff, rising in his stirrups, said : "In the name of General Johnston, I 
order that the batteries shall not open." I inquired, "Did General Johnston 
send you to communicate that order?" Whiting replied, "No; but I take 
the responsibility to give it." I claimed the privilege of responsibility under 
the circumstances, and when in the act of renewing the order to fire, General 
Bonham rode to my side and asked that the batteries should not be opened. 
As the ranking officer present this settled the question. By that time, too, it 
was near night. * * * Soon there came an order for the brigades to return to 
their positions behind the Run. * * * But thinking that there was a mistake 
somewhere, I remained in position until the order was renewed about ten 
o'clock. My brigade crossed and recrossed the Run six times during the day 
and night. 

It was afterwards found that some excitable person, seeing Jones's brigade 
recrossing the Run, from its advance, under previous orders, took them for 
Federal troops crossing at McLean's Ford, and, rushing to headquarters at 
the Junction, reported that the Federals were crossing below and preparing 
for attack against our right. And upon this report one of the staff officers 
sent orders, in the names of the Confederate chiefs, revoking the orders for 

That staff officer should have been court-martialed and shot. 

Beauregard's mistake was that he did not follow up his 5 o'clock 
order and go along with the troops ordered to make the flank and 
rear attack at and near Centerville. He would on arrival have 
seen the situation and have taken McDowell's reserve and depot of 
supplies, have cut his communication with the rear, and have 
gained an overwhelming victory. This mistake lost a great 

Had McDowell concentrated his three divisions on the night of 
the 20th — Tyler's in front of the stone bridge, Hunter's and 
Heintzelman's up the Run northward to Sudley's Ford — and on 
the morning of the 21st, soon after daylight, all have crossed and 
have dislodged and driven Evans, McDowell's whole force would 
have reached the Henry House by half-past seven or eight o'clock. 
Beauregard's fragmentary and scattered commands could not 
have been concentrated in time to have saved him. McDowell's 
victory would have been complete many hours before the brigades 
of Smith and Elzy arrived on the scene. McDowell thus lost a 
great opportunity, which stamped him as but a mediocre general. 

President Davis was on the field during the greater part of the 
battle. As soon as it was over he had a conference with Generals 
Johnston and Beauregard as to a pursuit of the Federals. They 


all three then knew that they were demoralized and in a disorderly 
retreat toward Washington. They were all three graduates of 
West Point, and had seen service and had experience in the war 
with Mexico. They should have known that the Confederate 
troops ought then to have been in pursuit. While the cavalry 
was small in numbers, yet the Federals were likewise deficient. 
While infantry cannot run down and catch infantry, the fright 
would have been so terrible that McDowell could not have halted 
a sufficient number of his men to have manned the works at the 
suburbs of Washington and to have kept the Confederates out. 
Had the pursuit begun the next morning, the news of it would 
soon have reached the fugitive's and have increased the demorali- 
zation and disorder. But President Davis says in his book that 
Johnston and Beauregard were both of the opinion that their 
army was in no condition to pursue, and that he concurred in it. 
They maintained that they were too deficient in transportation, 
and did not have sufficient supplies. Longstreet says that when 
he and Bonham went to Centerville they passed between their 
crossing of the Run and that place enough abandoned supplies to 
have fed the Confederates in a march to Washington. There 
was an abundance of supplies for weeks, had they been utilized, 
and for their transportation only wagons enough were needed 
to haul them and the ammunition. There were Bonham's, Ewell's, 
Holmes's, D. R. Jones's, St. George Cock's and Longstreet's 
brigades which had not fired a gun. Six fine brigades in good 
fighting trim and four others which were not too badly crippled 
to have been fine supports. Bee's, Evans's and Bartow's brigades 
were the only ones too badly crippled to have made a vigorous 
pursuit. Yet it was not made. A thoroughly enterprising, active 
and vigorous general at the head of that army would have gath- 
ered rich fruits and have made the first battle of Manassas a most 
memorable victory; whereas it was but a sentimental victory, 
without results except to awaken the Government and people 
North to new energies, and doubling their efforts to put down the 
so-called rebellion. It was a great opportunity lost by the 
mistaken inactivity of President Davis and Generals Johnston and 

The French Generals Houchard and Beauharnais lost their 
heads for winning fruitless victories. The Confederate Congress 
could not follow the example of the Revolutionary Convention 
of France without including President Davis. The sluggish 


action of Johnston and Beauregard so far met his approval that 
he promoted each of them to the rank of full general. To have 
made them major-generals would have been all, and in fact more, 
than their conduct as generals entitled them. It is a bad policy 
in military affairs to promote an officer until he has won it by 
meritorious conduct. That was the rule with Napoleon Bonaparte, 
who was the greatest general of the age in which he lived. 

As soon as McDowell had safely returned to Washington after 
the battle of Bull Run, or first Manassas, Longstreet, with his 
brigade, one battery of artillery, and Colonel Stuart's regiment 
of cavalry, was advanced, first to Centerville, then to Falls 
Church and finally to Munson's and Mason's Hills, in sight of 
Alexandria, Va., and of the Capitol at Washington. 

On the I ith of September Stuart, with his cavalry and a section 
of Rosser's battery, had a lively little affair with a detachment of 
Federals near Lewinsville, who hastily retreated before his onset. 
Occasionally a few shots were exchanged, but nothing like an 
engagement occurred. On the 19th of October General J. E. 
Johnston ordered Longstreet to fall back to Fairfax Court House, 
and soon after to Union Mills on Bull Run, which was the right 
of the Confederate line along that stream. Colonel Stuart was 
left in observation along the front. On the morning of October 
21, Union General Stone, with four regiments, crossed the 
Potomac at Edward's Ferry, and at the same time a brigade of 
five regiments, under Colonel Baker, a United States Senator 
from Oregon, crossed the Potomac at Ball's Bluff, a point above 
Edward's Ferry. Brigadier-General N. G. Evans was at Lees- 
burg with the Eighth Virginia, Thirteenth, Seventeenth, Eigh- 
teenth Mississippi regiments, and two batteries of artillery. 
General Evans left Colonel Barksdale with his Thirteenth Mis- 
sissippi and six pieces of artillery as a reserve to hold in check 
Stone's force, which had crossed at Ball's Bluff, while Evans, 
with the remainder of his force, proceeded to attack Baker's 
brigade, and after hard fighting drove them down the bluff to 
the river, where they overcrowded and sank the boats which had 
brought them over, many of them drowning, and their com- 
mander, Colonel Baker, was killed. This is known as Evans's 
victory at Ball's Bluff. General Evans had a military education, 
and started into the war brilliantly, but on account of his intem- 
perate habits never won any promotion, and several years after 


the war died at Midway, Ala., in Bullock County, in utter poverty. 
He had been teaching school there. 

On the 20th of December a considerable affair occurred at 
Dranesville. Colonel Stuart, with 150 of his cavalry, Cutt's 
battery of artillery and the Eleventh Virginia Regiment ; Colonel 
Garland, Tenth Alabama ; Colonel Farney, Sixth South Carolina , 
Colonel Secrest, First Kentucky; Colonel Tom Taylor, and the 
cavalry companies of Ransom and Bradford, went on a foraging 
expedition in the neighborhood of that town. At that time there 
was an abundance of supplies to be obtained. Soon after Stuart 
arrived he found that Brigadier-General Ord, with five regiments 
and Easton's battery of heavy field guns, was moving upon him 
and taking advantage of the scattered condition of his command. 
He sent couriers to hurry the retreat of the empty wagons back 
to Centerville to save them from capture, and began an attack on 
Ord's force to prevent their capture and let the wagons escape, 
which he succeeded in doing, but got worsted in the engagement 
with Ord, and lost many more men than that officer. This was 
the first success which the Union troops had gained over the 
Confederates anywhere. McClellan had but recently been assigned 
to the command of the Army of the Potomac, and this little affair 
caused the bestowal upon him of much praise, and the newspapers 
and people about Washington at once characterized him as the 
"Young Napoleon." 

After the affair at Dranesville General Johnston put his army 
in winter quarters at Centerville and along Bull Run, and between 
there and Manassas Junction. 



The "Canty Rifles" — Its Inception — Electioneering by Candidates for Field 
Officers — My First Company Disbanded — Composition of Second Com- 
pany—Arrival at Fort Mitchell— All Commissions Dated July 3, 1861— 
Organization of Companies — Composition of Regiment. 

In the spring of 1861 military companies were organizing all 
over the country. In May, James Canty, a wealthy planter resid- 
ing at Fort Mitchell, in Russell County, some ten or twelve miles 
from Columbus, Ga., on the Mobile and Girard Railroad, raised 
a company called the "Canty Rifles," of which he was elected 
captain. He was a native of South Carolina, a gentleman of 
high culture and courtly bearing; had seen service in the war 
with Mexico, had been brevetted for gallantry in one of the 
engagements, in which he was severely wounded while serving 
as adjutant of the "Palmetto" regiment, all of which gave him 
a high military reputation among the people, where attainments 
and experience of this character at that time were very rare and 
much in demand. He proposed to raise a regiment of infantry 
in southeast Alabama. Companies were then being formed in 
nearly every county in that section, and during the months of 
June and July several of these, as they got in readiness, moved 
forward to Fort Mitchell, where Canty had formed a camp and 
proposed to organize a regiment. The intensity of desire and 
haste to get into service were such that before all the companies 
had left home, or elected officers, an election was held for field 
officers at Fort Mitchell as soon as a decided majority of the 
companies necessary to compose the regiment had arrived. Canty 
was elected colonel without opposition, and Capt. John W L. 
Daniel, of the "Midway Guards," then from Barbour, but now 
Bullock County, was in like manner elected major. Capt. Ben 
Gardner, of the "Quitman Guards," from Troy and Orion in 
Pike County, and Capt. John F. Treutlen, of the "Glenville| 
Guards," from Barbour and Dale Counties, were rival candidates 
for the office of lieutenant-colonel. The vote of the companies 


in camp did not determine the contest, consequently they visited 
the companies which had not reached the rendezvous, delivered 
addresses, and electioneered with the men. My company was 
one and perhaps the last of these. Gardner was a big, burly, 
coarse, rough-looking man in his uniform, with a heavy brow, 
bushy hair, slightly gray, and a remarkably heavy voice; and 
when he addressed my company with great emphasis and violent 
gesture, he actually intimidated the men, especially when he 
declared that, "If you elect me to command, I will command, and 
you shall obey " Treutlen was game-looking, but very modest 
and affable, and the men, having a free ballot, both the candidates 
being strangers to them, and judging for themselves by appear- 
ances, elected him by a large majority. This occurred some time 
subsequent to the partial organization, which had been effected 
by the election of the colonel and major on the third day of July, 
in which my company did not participate. 

I first raised a company to serve for twelve months. I visited 
the Governor of the State to get it into service for that period, 
and failing to do so, on my return it disbanded. I had been 
chosen a lieutenant in that company, being deemed too young for 
captain, and the day it disbanded I began the work of raising a 
company to serve three years or during the war, and had barely 
succeeded when the election for lieutenant-colonel was held. My 
company was raised in the north end of Henry County, about 
Abbeville, and the eastern part of Dale County, and was composed 
mainly of young men and boys from sixteen to thirty years of 
age, the sons of farmers. There were but thirteen married men 
in it, and but five who were forty years old, in a membership of 
one hundred and twenty-one, that being the number (including 
myself) with which I left Abbeville on Saturday, the 27th of July 
A. large number of relatives and friends accompanied us to Frank- 
lin, on the Chattahoochee River, where that night we embarked 
on the steamboat Jackson, The next day (Sunday) I held an 
election on the boat for company officers as we were ascending 
the river. Having raised the company, I had been for some time, 
by common consent, proclaimed captain, and hence was not 
elected. Early Monday morning the boat landed at Eufaula for 
a short time, and I went up to the Eastern Bank and got a check 
cashed which had been drawn by prominent citizens of Henry to 
be used for the common benefit of the company. My recollection 
is that it was about two thousand dollars, all of which I expended 


for the benefit of my men, and which, in the light of subsequent 
experience, was wholly unnecessary. We were entitled to commu- 
tation for clothing, and this, with the monthly pay of the men, 
was as much as any soldier need to have had expended for his 
comfort; but this sum, together with the large contributions of 
clothing, tents, mess-chests and other camp equipage, enough to 
have supplied a regiment in the last year of the war, abundantly 
proved the generous and patriotic spirit of the people we left at 
home. Resuming our voyage, in the afternoon the boat landed 
at Fort Mitchell, where we disembarked about one mile from the 
encampment. Captain Lewis with his company received us at 
the landing and! escorted us to the camp. My company was the 
last of the ten to arrive. Colonel Canty sent to the Governor the 
names of all the captains to be commissioned, and the Governor, 
A. B. Moore, issued all the commissions of the same date, to wit : 
July 3, 1861, although in fact Captains Lowther, Richardson and 
Feagin were junior to the others, they having been elected after 
the organization to fill the vacancies caused by the election of 
their predecessors as field officers of the regiment. The Colonel 
summoned the captains to his quarters for the purpose of fixing 
their respective positions in the line and designating the companies 
by letter, as required by tactics and army regulations. He under- 
stood quite well, but was not careful to explain to us the value of 
rank, his motive doubtless being to avoid contention and to give 
Lowther, his personal friend, the advantage in position and rank ; 
but few of us had military knowledge enough to appreciate it. 
There was then great difficulty in procuring arms. The Colonel 
had obtained enough Mississippi rifles to arm two companies, and 
they were given to his old company and that of Major Daniel; 
or whether he obtained all of these arms or not, these two com- 
panies had them. For the other eight, old altered smooth-bore 
George Law muskets were all the arms to be had. The Colonel's 
first proposition submitted for our consideration was to give the 
two companies that were armed with the rifles the right and left 
of the regiment, and consequently to designate them as A and B. 
After a brief discussion he put it to a vote, and all of the captains, 
excepting myself and Lieutenant Strickland (representing Captain 
Gardner, who was absent) voted for it. Captains Lowther and 
Feagin then at once agreed that the former should have the right 
and be Company A, and the latter the left as Company B. The 
Colonel's next proposition was that the other eight captains should 


cast lots for the positions of their respective companies in line. 
With some little hesitancy and looks of dissatisfaction, but with- 
out any open expression thereof, as all felt that we had gone too 
far to recede, it was agreed to. Some of us had an idea that this 
was not exactly the proper way to settle these matters, but we 
were all so anxious to go to the front, so utterly ignorant of 
military law and army regulations as well as tactics, that we were 
as clay in the potter's hands and ready to submit to almost any 
kind of organization. Nothing was said about the rank of 
captains, which a subsequent part of the history of the regiment 
shows it was so important to have been then settled and fully 
understood. It was assumed by the Colonel, and no one protested 
or objected further than has been mentioned, that the captains 
ranked according to the letter of their respective companies. Had 
the question been raised or any contest been made it would have 
been, according to military law, otherwise determined, for where 
the commissions of officers of the same grade are of even date 
that one who has held a similar command, or been longest in 
service, takes precedence over and ranks the other; therefore, 
although the commissions of the captains were of the same date, 
Lowther, Feagin and Richardson, having been elected subsequent 
to the organization, were junior in rank to the others. But no 
blame could attach to either of these captains for assuming the 
rank over others, because we all acquiesced in it and thereby 
waived the right to subsequently object. In the drawing, I drew 
the letter G, which made me seventh captain in rank, though I had 
the largest company in the regiment. 

The regiment was mustered into service by Major Calhoun, to 
serve for three years or during the war should it sooner terminate. 

The following were the field and staff officers : 

James Canty, of Russell County, Colonel ; 

John F. Treutlen, of Barbour County, Lieutenant-Colonel; 

John W L. Daniel, of Barbour County, Major ; 

James Vernoy, of Columbus, Ga., Assistant Commissary; 

T J. Woolfork, of Russell County, Assistant Quartermaster; 

Dr. Frank A. Stanford, of Columbus, Ga., Surgeon ; 

Dr. W G. Drake, of Barbour County, Assistant Surgeon ; 

Lock Weems, of Macon County, Adjutant. 


The non-commissioned staff were as follows : 

Van Marcus, of Columbus, Ga., Sergeant-Major ; 
Joseph R. Breare, of Dale County, Commissary-Sergeant ; 
H. D. Doney, of Columbus, Ga., Quartermaster-Sergeant ; 
Charles Smith, of Columbus, Ga., Color-Sergeant ; 
T J. Bass, of Barbour County, Ordnance-Sergeant. 

The following are the companies, with the commissioned 
officers, as they were mustered into service 

Company A, from Russell County — 

A. A. Lowther, Captain; 

William F- Berry, First Lieutenant ; 
William Nuckolls, Second Lieutenant; 
Thomas J. Nuckolls, Third Lieutenant. 

The last two named lieutenants were, in Confederate regula- 
tions, denominated senior second and junior second, but were 
commonly called for convenience second and third lieutenants, 
which I adopt. 

Company B, from Barbour County — 

Isaac B. Feagin, Captain; 
Watt P Jones, First Lieutenant ; 
Ben F- Coleman, Second Lieutenant; 
R. E. Wright, Third Lieutenant. 

Company C, from Macon County — 

Peter V Guerry, Captain ; 

N. D. Guerry, First Lieutenant; 

J. M. Ellison, Second Lieutenant ; 

B. F- Loyd, Third Lieutenant. 

Company D, from Barbour County — 

Moses Worthington, Captain ; 
Blant A. Hill, First Lieutenant; 
J. S. Wilson, Second Lieutenant; 
J. J. Head, Third Lieutenant. 


Company E, from Dale County — 
Esaw Brooks, Captain; 
William A. Edwards, First Lieutenant; 
Daniel F Bryan, Second Lieutenant ; 
John E. Jones, Third Lieutenant. 

Company F, from Pike County — 

Ben F Lewis, Captain ; 
George Y Malone, First Lieutenant; 
DeKalb Williams, Second Lieutenant; 
Thomas J. Pryor, Third Lieutenant. 

Company G, from Henry County — 

William C. Oates, Captain; 
Isaac T Culver, First Lieutenant ; 
C. V Morris, Second Lieutenant; 
H. C. Brainard, Third Lieutenant. 

Company H, from Barbour and Dale Counties — 

William N. Richardson, Captain; 
William D. Wood, First Lieutenant, 
J. H. Metcalf, Second Lieutenant; 
T. D. Staunton, Third Lieutenant. 

Company I, from Pike County — 

Benjamin Gardner, Captain; 
Frank Parke, First Lieutenant ; 
W H. Strickland, Second Lieutenant; 
A. W Starke, Third Lieutenant. 

Company K, from Barbour County — 

Henry C. Hart, Captain ; 
G. A. Roberts, First Lieutenant ; 
A. R. Baugh, Second Lieutenant ; 
William J. Bethune, Third Lieutenant. 

Company L, from vicinity of Perote, then Pike, now Bullock Co. 

Robert H. Hill, Captain ; 
Lee E. Bryan, First Lieutenant; 
Daniel Hooks, Second Lieutenant; 
Robert Paul, Third Lieutenant. 



The following is approximately the numbers of each company 
when ordered to Virginia : 

Company A ioo 

B ioo 

C 85 

D 95 

E no 

F no 

G 120 

H 105 

I 118 

K 90 

Total . 


Company L, which was afterwards added to the regiment, 
numbered at least 100 men, making, officers and men, a total of 

1, 133- 



Learning Tactics and Drilling — Ordered to Richmond — The First Camp on 
the James — The Move to Pageland — The First Manassas Battle-field — 
Sickness Among the Soldiers — The Measles Worse Than the Enemy's 

The regiment being thus fully organized, company drilling was 
the regular order. The awkwardness of the men was to have 
been expected. Volunteers, who scarcely knew right face from 
left face and had never seen a company drilled through a single 
evolution, could not have been otherwise; but when the officers 
were found to be nearly, if not quite, as ignorant as the men they 
were attempting to instruct — not even familiar with Hardee's 
School of the Soldier — the whole thing presented a ludicrous 
scene. Books of tactics were in demand. All studied diligently, 
and consequently all the officers who had any capacity for learning 
tactics improved very rapidly. It is a noteworthy fact that some 
men, and frequently those who are otherwise of great talent, have 
no capacity for learning and applying military tactics or parlia- 
mentary law. 

During the first week in August the Colonel received orders to 
take his regiment to Richmond, Va., and we began to move in 
divisions of two companies. My company and that of Captain 
Lewis moved off together, and with their immense baggage they 
were all that one train of cars could transport. My company had 
ten large tents, ten large mess-chests — each one supplied with 
enough crockery, cutlery and tinware to furnish ten family dining- 
rooms — a large quantity of cooking utensils, a dozen trunks filled 
with clothing, and a large quantity of blankets. Lewis's companv 
was not quite so largely, but abundantly supplied. The baggage 
of my company was all that could be packed on a large four-horse 
army wagon. It was a change of scene for the boys, and as the 
train moved off they cheered lustily, which was repeated at various 
points along the route. 


The first battle of Manassas had but recently been won by the 
Confederates, and the whole Southern country was in a state of 
enthusiasm. Scarcely a house was passed by our train in day- 
time but that handkerchiefs were waved by fair hands from doors 
and windows. At Augusta, Ga., the patriotic ladies of that beau- 
tiful city had in waiting for us a most excellent breakfast, spread 
upon long board tables extemporized for the purpose, with barrels 
of ice water and lemonade distributed at convenient intervals ; and 
while the rough-looking soldier boys swarmed about the tables 
and enjoyed the luxuries prepared for them, the ladies were all 
among them, like so many good angels, ministering to the wants 
of all, and she who did most seemed happiest in the apparent 
consciousness of having contributed most to the cause of her 
country. They made a good impression upon all of us. I have 
felt a partiality for Augusta ever since, especially its ladies, and I 
never heard a soldier speak otherwise than in the kindest terms 
of them and their city. Nothing wins men's hearts like kindness 
and attention, especially a good square meal when they are 

When we arrived at Richmond, which had been the Confederate 
Capital for about two months, we were marched to a camp about 
one mile below the "Rockets," on the north side of the James 
River, and within sight of the grave, on the right bank, of old 
Powhatan, the great Indian prince, the father of Pocahontas, and 
near which stands the house in which Brigadier-General St. 
George Cocke, in 1863, so mysteriously committed suicide. A 
small creek flowed past our camp on the north side, and some 
ravines and parts of the river on the other made our camp on a 
sort of island, with an abundance of running water close at hand. 
The Polish Legion from Louisiana, commanded by Colonel Sooli 
Koski, a Polish officer of distinction, arrived one or two days later 
and was encamped near us upon the same island. The only drill 
ground was an old field, a sort of plateau above and north of the 
camp. Here we passed beyond the school of the soldier, the 
squad and the company, and had daily exercises in battalion drill 
and dress parade every evening. 

Each afternoon, as soon as we vacated, the Polish Legion, with 
its numerous drum corps, would occupy the ground. The foreign 
accent of Sooli Koski and the alacrity and precision with which 
his men obeyed his commands, not a word of which could we 


understand, presented a good entertainment for the edification of 
our officers and men. 

About the 18th of August the regiment was ordered to the 
front, and went by railroad, crowded into box cars like cattle, to 
Manassas Junction. Just before boarding the cars in Richmond 
the regiment was reviewed and briefly addressed by that most 
excellent man and distinguished citizen of Alabama, John Gill 
Shorter, who had just been elected Governor of the State and was 
then serving out his term as a member of the Provisional Congress 
of the Confederate States. The regiment was then about 1,000 
strong, and larger than many brigades were in 1864. From 
Manassas Junction we made our first march of about five miles 
north of that place, and went into camp at a place, or rather where 
there was no place but an old field, called Pageland, a short dis- 
tance north of the Gainesville and Warrenton Turnpike, and about 
one mile west of the field where the battle of the 21st of July — 
first Manassas — was fought. 

Upon this first march several ludicrous scenes occurred, one of 
which was Captain Gardner marching at the head of his company 
with a great umbrella stretched over him. It had a most unmili- 
tary appearance, but the captain was large and corpulent, a lawyer 
by profession, unused to the sun, fifty-two years old, and therefore 

On the 2 1st day of August, just one month after the action, I 
visited the battle-field. A white post had been set up to mark each 
of the places where fell General Bee, of South Carolina ; Colonels 
Bartow, of Georgia; Fisher, of North Carolina, and Jones, of 
Alabama. A battle-field was a new thing then and it elicited the 
minutest attention from every visitor, and I am quite certain that 
every officer and man in the regiment availed himself of the 
opportunity of inspecting this first battle-field of the war. Some 
of the mounds where the slain were buried were washed down by 
the rains until here and there could be discovered a putrifying 
human hand or foot protruding. Such places when approached 
were offensive. The field, to a great extent, was covered with tall 
fennel and pennyroyal at the time of the battle, and the mashed 
and bruised weeds still gave forth a peculiar odor, which some of 
the men who visited the field superstitiously mistook for the scent 
of "dead Yankees," supposing that they had a different smell from 
other dead men. At this camp occurred the first death in the 
regiment — A. J. Folmar, of Company I. Near us was encamped 


the Twenty-first North Carolina, the Twenty-first Georgia, and 
the Sixteenth Mississippi regiments, with which we were after- 
wards brigaded, and passed through many bloody struggles 
together. Drilling and performing the routine of camp duty was 
the regular order. All the original Fifteenth Alabama men will, 
when reading this, be carried back to those days, and can in 
imagination still hear the fife of old Hildebrand, and Jimmie 
Newberry's and Pat Brannon's drums, as they were heard at 
reveille and tattoo, nor can they forget Colonel Canty's old 
teamster, whom he facetiously called "Beauregard," and who was 
the only man connected with the regiment who could surpass the 
Colonel in profanity- The Colonel never cursed him but once. 
"Beauregard" replied with such an overwhelming and incessant 
torrent of oaths that Canty never attempted it again, but kept the 
old teamster as a curiosity and to have fun out of until the follow- 
ing winter, when he lay out drunk one cold night and froze to 
death. I never knew where he was from or what his real name 

While at Pageland that worst enemy of our army — the measles 
— appeared in the ranks, and the great folly and suicidal policy of 
keeping the sick in camp was adopted. I do not know who was 
responsible for it, but it was a great mistake. There was not 
that care taken of the men of any regiment, so far as my observa- 
tion extended, which foresight, prudence and economy of war 
material — leaving humanity out of the question — imperatively 
demanded. The inability of the young Confederacy may be 
pleaded in extenuation, but not in justification, of the course 
pursued. The people everywhere were patriotic and ready to 
lend a helping hand in caring for the sick soldiers. Had the 
Confederate authorities made more persistent efforts than they 
did, hospitals could have been established in sufficient numbers to 
have saved the lives of hundreds and thousands of good men, 
which were for the want of them unnecessarily sacrificed. But the 
idea that the men must be kept at the front and in camp near by, 
inured to camp life and discipline, too largely prevailed, and many 
sacrifices paid the penalty of this folly. Of all the regiments 
encamped near us the Twenty-first Georgia suffered most. The 
mortality was also greater in the Twenty-first North Carolina 
than in our regiment, but less in the Sixteenth Mississippi. Of 
course I have reference to the condition at this camp and subse- 
quently for several weeks. 


What was true in the camps of these regiments was, as I was 
informed, substantially the case in others — differing only in 
degree. Every colonel was an aspirant for a brigadier-general's 
commission and hence desired his regiment to be as large as 
possible to make a fine display, consequently favored improvised 
hospitals, or rather sick camps, from which he hoped that his 
men would soon return restored to, health. The surgeons were 
criminally negligent for not earnestly protesting against such 
sacrifices of human life. This folly lost to the service more men 
than were put out of it by the enemy's bullets. Neither the 
President of the Confederacy nor the commander of that army 
seemed to notice it, and certainly failed to take steps to remedy 
it. The private soldiers and company officers were the men upon 
whom the success of the Confederacy depended, and everything 
else should have been subordinated to their comfort and preserva- 
tion ; but on the contrary they were neglected and a large per- 
centage lost by disease when fifty per cent, of them might have 
been saved by proper attention. 



Second March of the Regiment — Wheat's "Tiger" Battalion — Regiment's Ad- 
vance to Accotink Creek — Camp at Centerville — Winter Quarters Near 
Manassas Junction. 

About the middle of September the regiment broke camp and 
marched along the Alexandria Pike through and about five miles 
east of Centerville, and established Camp Toombs near the resi- 
dence of an old gentleman named Robey. This was our second 
march. The day was intensely hot and Captain Gardner had his 
umbrella spread as on the first march, but the perspiration flowed 
freely. When the head of the column reached one of those beau- 
tiful flowing springs of pure cold water for which Virginia is 
noted, the Colonel halted and ordered Captain Lowther to allow 
his company — A — to get over the fence and quench their thirst. 
The spring was not a very bold one and the drain upon it soon 
caused it to muddy. Some one came along and told the Colonel 
that a few hundred yards further on there was a very bold spring 
at which his men could be much better and more rapidly supplied. 
Thereupon the Colonel ordered Company A back into line, and 
then gave the order aloud and with great military exactitude, 
"Attention, battalion; shoulder arms; forward, march!" The 
regiment promptly moved forward a company's length, which 
brought Company F opposite the spring which Company A had 
just abandoned. At that early date all the jealousies incident to a 
green citizen soldiery were present. No doubt the men generally 
in every company felt that the Colonel was guilty, in this instance, 
of gross favoritism toward his old company. Captain Lewis, as 
brave as Caesar, but slow to perceive the propriety of strict obedi- 
ence to military orders, never could comprehend the mysteries 
of tactics, and battalion drill completely bewildered him. He too 
fully shared the jealousies of his company; therefore, when it 
came opposite the spring, the Captain, utterly regardless of the 
Colonel's order, cried : "Company, halt ! Now, boys, jump over 


the fence and get water." The men obeyed with alacrity; and 
thus the regiment was cut in two, and the main body halted in 
consequence of Company F's performance. The Colonel had a 
staff as large as that of any brigadier-general, put on a great deal 
of style, and believed in the most punctilious observance of mili- 
tary etiquette. The reader can well imagine how ridiculous he 
looked while riding slowly forward in great state followed by 
only one company. When he discovered it he halted that and rode 
back in a white heat with rage ! His eyes flashed fire. Said he, 
"Captain Lewis, by God, sir, I ordered this regiment forward!" 
Lewis, with the most innocent expression on his face, responded, 
"Yes, Colonel; certainly." "Well, by God, sir, I gave the order 
to be obeyed!" "Exactly, Colonel; exactly so." "Why in dam- 
nation did you disobey it, then?" "Yes, yes, I see; but, Colonel, 
can't you give the boys time to get a little water?" The Colonel 
was outdone. He reined his horse around slowly, and in a sut- 
dued tone ejaculated, "Well, I be damned !" When the boys got 
a little water we moved on to the other spring, where all were 
supplied with an abundance of good, pure, ice-cold water. This 
little experience was an addition to that stock of knowledge which 
we finally acquired of allowing the Colonel to do the thinking for 
the regiment when on the march. Confidence in the commander 
and prompt obedience to orders are essential to efficiency and the 
highest soldierly qualities. We got there after a while. 

All the sick were, about the ist of October, ordered to the rear 
to a country church near Haymarket, west of Pageland and near 
the Manassas Gap Railroad, with only the convalescents for 
nurses. At this improvised hospital there were neither accommo- 
dations nor comfort; no bedding but the soldier's blanket, with 
his knapsack for a pillow, and no nourishment but army rations ; 
a scant supply of medicine and with no medical attention worth 
having, except such as old Dr. Shepherd, of Eufaula, could give, 
and he almost seventy-five years old. The nights in October were 
cold, and early in the month there was frost, and the suffering 
of the sick men was intolerable. At least a dozen men from my 
company were sent back there, after Nobles, Holmes, and per- 
haps one or two other good men had died in camp. I took the 
responsibility to disobey the order to send only convalescents 
for nurses, and sent Elijah W Lingo, one of the truest and best 
men in the regiment, to nurse the sick men from my company; 
and the consequence was that, although I had the largest com- 


pany in the regiment, I lost fewer men than any other. It was no 
uncommon sight at that hospital to see six or seven corpses of 
Fifteenth Alabama men laid out at once. Not less than 150 men 
of the regiment died that fall at the hospital from the effects of 
measles and the want of proper treatment and attention. I think, 
indeed, that is too low an estimate for the months of September 
and October. The adjutant's consolidated return for the month 
of November alone, when the sickness had largely abated, shows 
the following losses: "14, discharged for disability; 2, by order; 
1, deserted, and 60, died of disease." 

When at this camp we had our first view of Wheat's notorious 
"Tiger" battalion. General William H. T Walker, the little 
man through whose body a grape-shot passed in one of the battles 
in the Mexican War, was in command of the famous Louisiana 
brigade, subsequently commanded by Dick Taylor, to which 
Wheat's battalion was attached. Walker had orders to make a 
demonstration against the enemy on the Potomac above Wash- 
ington, and on his march halted a few moments at Camp Toombs 
to pay respects to his old friend Canty. While halted the "Tigers" 
were the center of attraction. General Beauregard had said of 
them in his official report, "All honor to the brave little band who 
fought the first hour in the battle of Manassas." This, together 
with their half-savage uniform, made them the observed of all 
observers. They were composed mainly of adventurers, wharf- 
rats, cut-throats, and bad characters generally ; and although they 
fought with reckless bravery so long as their organization con- 
tinued, they were actuated more by a spirit of adventure and love 
of plunder than by love of country. They had neither respect nor 
fear of any man but one, and he was Major Wheat, their com- 
mander. After his death no one could command or control them, 
and the battalion was disbanded and the men allowed to join 
other commands. They had no moral principle whatever, but 
fought like devils while Wheat lived. He himself killed some 
of them for insubordination. He had fought in the war with 
Mexico, in the Crimean War, was in the Lopez expedition 
against Cuba, and took a hand with Walker in Nicaragua. He 
had a presentiment of his death, and told Lieutenant-Colonel 
Peck, of the Ninth Louisiana, and others, on the morning of the 
27th of June, 1862, that he would be killed that day; and at Cold 
Harbor that afternoon, in the hottest of the fight, he was shot 
through the head, and as he fell from his horse, it is said by those 


near him, he spoke aloud and distinctly the following sentence : 
"Bury me upon the field of battle, my boys." 

As the autumn days rolled by, life at Camp Toombs, named in 
honor of Georgia's most erratic and greatest talker, grew rather 
monotonous. Company and battalion drilling was our daily occu- 
pation. Occasionally we were aroused by a rumor, incident to 
such a life, concerning the advance or other movements of the 
enemy; but, having no foundation, the excitement soon subsided. 
Later in the war the soldiers denominated such rumors as "grape- 
vine telegrams" and paid no attention to them. November came, 
but the Yankees did not. Homesickness came to many instead, 
and some men actually died of it. I, with my company, was de- 
tached temporarily and ordered to Fairfax Station to guard ord- 
nance stores, which had been accumulated there in considerable 
quantity, for convenience in case of a battle in that vicinity After 
remaining at Fairfax about one week, General Joseph E. John- 
ston, then commanding our Virginia army, ordered it to fall 
back to Centerville and Bull Run. When the stores were all 
removed I marched to rejoin the regiment at Camp Toombs, a 
distance of about five or six miles, but when I reached there I 
found no one except a few convalescent sick men, guarding a 
portion of the camp equipage, which was being moved to Cen- 
terville. The regiment had gone to the front, along the pike in 
the direction of Washington, as was supposed to fight the enemy 
and skirmish with his vanguard. Great consternation prevailed 
among the convalescents of our and other neighboring camps, 
and the stragglers, who had no ambition to enjoy the first fire of 
the Yankees. It was late in the afternoon, but after a brief rest I 
headed my company down the Alexandria Pike, and after a hard 
march about an hour after dark I found Colonel Canty with his 
regiment in line of battle at right angles with the pike, and Col- 
onel George T Anderson, with the Eleventh Georgia, extending 
the line upon the opposite side, with a few videttes in advance on 
the pike near the crossing of the Accotink Creek, awaiting the 
approach of McClellan's grand army, but not at all anxious to see 
it that night. I judge others by myself. Colonel Canty seemed 
greatly delighted at the arrival of my company, and seemed dis- 
posed to make me believe that I could, with my 70 men present, 
whip and turn back a whole brigade of the enemy- The skies 
were overcast with darkness and a heavy cloud was approaching 
when I got my company to their place in line. We were all 


thoroughly tired, having marched a dozen miles or more that day, 
which was harder on us than a march of twenty miles after we 
became accustomed to it. The apprehensions of all were fully 
aroused and but few spoke above a whisper, and those who did, 
in a very subdued tone. The rain fell in torrents. Without 
shelter and in darkness, we began to realize some faint glimmer- 
ing of real soldiering as the future revealed it to us. No enemy 
came. The truth is that none were nearer than three or four miles 
of us, and they had no idea of advancing upon us that night ; but 
we did not know it. 

General McClellan, without any serious intention of bringing 
on a general engagement, had made a forward movement merely 
to develop General Johnston's plan and purpose, and he found at 
once that the latter would receive and fight him on the line of 
Bull Run. McClellan did not care to engage him on that line and 
at that time. The next morning we welcomed the rising sun, 
and as no enemy came, we fell back in good order to Centerville, 
where we found our tents and baggage had been removed. Here 
we remained encamped for two or three weeks in an open field 
upon the high hills west of Centerville, where the northwestern 
winds of November had fair play at us, and taught the whole 
command how to cry and endure the almost intolerable smoke that 
the oak wood of Virginia, strongly impregnated with alkali, makes 
at a camp fire. Old soldiers all know what amount of solid com- 
fort (?) there was in warming at such a fire. You could neither 
read, write nor converse — you could do nothing but cry and curse 
or pray, and I am of the opinion that very little of the latter was 
done. While at this camp my old friend Captain Ben Gardner, 
who when he started out at the head of the Quitman Guards (as 
fine a company as ever went to the front) declared in a speech at 
Farriorville that, while he had always been a Union man, he was 
then going to fight for secession and separate national existence, 
and, like the renowned Carthaginian, Hamilcar, who fought the 
Romans through life and swore his son Hannibal forever to be 
their enemy, he would not only fight, but would swear his children 
forever to be the enemies of the Union, now became disgusted 
with war and soldiering and resigned. Eloquence on the stump 
after a good square meal, in which it is so easy for a fellow to 
talk up his patriotism to wading in blood and dying for his 
country, is quite a different thing from acting it out on the field ; 
and Captain Ben was not the only man who found it out. Many 


others were like Doyles, who told the lawyer that he heard the 
defendant admit that the plaintiff's debt was a just one. The 
next court the lawyer called him as a witness and he swore he 
knew nothing about the matter in controversy. Said the lawyer : 
"Mr. Doyles, did you not tell me just after last court that you 
heard the defendant admit that this debt was a just one?" "Yes, 
squire," said Doyles. "Well, did you hear him make the admis- 
sion?" "No, Squire, I can't say that I ever did." "Well, how 
do you account for your inconsistency, Mr. Doyles? You told 
me something which you now admit that you did not know." 
'Well, you see, Squire, circumstances alters cases ; I were a talking 
then and I'm swearing now; it's quite different, you know," he 
replied, drawing his bandanna and wiping the sweat from his 
brow and breathing a sigh of relief at having owned up like a 
little man when he was caught and with no room for dodging. 
But the Captain had a plausible excuse in domestic affliction for 
retiring from the army, and I would never have quoted his speech 
on him but for his political course after the war 

We were now and had been for upwards of a month in Critten- 
den's brigade, composed of the Fifteenth Alabama, Sixteenth 
Mississippi, Twenty-first North Carolina, and Twenty-first 
Georgia regiments, the colonels of which were Canty, Posey, 
Kirkland and Mercer. This brigade constituted a part of Major- 
General G. W Smith's division. About this time a partial reor- 
ganization occurred. Crittenden was promoted and sent west, 
and Brigadier-General Isaac R. Trimble, of Maryland, was 
assigned to the command of our brigade, and it was transferred 
to Major-General Richard S. Ewell's division, composed of 
Trimble's, Early's, and Taylor's brigades. In consequence of the 
transfer, we had to break up our camp, where we had just about 
made ourselves comfortable, and move less than a half mile to our 
new place in the line. This move was made in the rain and 
consequently exposed all the convalescents from measles, which 
doubtless caused the death of some of them. Here the regiment 
remained until the cold weather set in, and then it was marched 
across Bull Run to an oak grove between that stream and 
Manassas Junction, about one mile east of the latter place. Here 
each company constructed huts and went into winter quarters. 
Chimneys were built to the huts and they were rendered in every 
way comfortable. 



The Resignation of Major Daniel — The Regiment Denied the Right to Elect 
His Successor — Evacuation of Manassas and Centerville — Unnecessary 
Sacrifice of Stores— Halted at Rappahannock — Heintzleman's Advance — 
Recruits to the Regiment — Scarcity of Rations — Bad Weather — Sickness 
Among the Men — Starvation Times. 

During that long and disagreeable winter the men had no cause 
to complain. They had plenty of rations, plenty of clothing, and 
even luxuries, which their relatives and friends at home sent them. 
Fine dinners, at which roast turkey and good Virginia beef were 
served in abundance, were of frequent occurrence. About once in 
two weeks the regiment had to go on picket for two days and 
this was about all the service required during the winter. 

In addition to Captains Gardner and Lewis, Captain Brooks, 
Lieutenants Starke, Metcalf, Culver and Roberts resigned during 
the winter, and a good many non-commissioned officers and 
privates were discharged for disabilities which camp life had 
developed. Among them was A. M. Hughes, a private in Com- 
pany H, a lawyer from Newton in Dale County, known to every- 
body in Dale as "Colonel" Hughes. One day I passed the old 
man on guard in the rain with his blanket around him. He 
saluted me as I passed. I discovered from his appearance that 
he was sick and rapidly wearing out. I knew him well. As I 
returned I stopped and inquired about his health. He told me 
that he was very unwell, but that he refused to go on the sick list. 
I advised him to get a discharge and go home, that he was too old 
and feeble to withstand the hardships of soldiering. He indig- 
nantly rejected the advice. He said that his heart was brim-full 
of the cause of his country and that he had volunteered to fight 
the enemies of it, and he intended to do it, if God spared his life 
long enough to get into a battle. I expostulated with him and 
told him that he would die if he remained there, which I firmly 
believed, and that he would be worth more to his country at home 


with his family. His lips quivered, the tears stood in his eyes, 
and he replied that it was a conflict of duty; that his wife and 
daughters could take care of themselves, and his country claimed 
his services. No furloughs could then be obtained, but I got his 
consent to apply for one. I wrote it out, although he did not 
belong to my company, and went to Dr. Stanford for his endorse- 
ment. He examined "Colonel" Hughes and unhesitatingly 
recommended his discharge. I took the paper to headquarters 
and obtained the discharge. The next morning when I went to 
give it to the old man, notwithstanding he had camp fever, he 
accepted the discharge rather reluctantly. But he finally reached 
home in a very feeble state and lived until about the year 1882. 
He was his worst enemy. He was addicted to excessive drinking 
at times, but never under any circumstances lost his pride or sense 
of honor. He always spoke of lawyers as "the profession," as 
though the law was the only profession. Once, when he had 
gotten down on his way home and some gentleman who was not 
a lawyer raised him and offered to assist him home, he replied, 
"No, sir ; I scorn your assistance. No one but a member of the 
profession shall do that." 

Among those who resigned while the regiment was at Manassas 
was John W L. Daniel, the major. He was a man of fine social 
position and of great personal popularity in his county. In i860 
he was, with John Cochran, Jefferson Buford and Alpheus Baker, 
elected from Barbour County a delegate to the Secession Conven- 
tion, which assembled in Montgomery on the 7th day of January, 
1 86 1. He voted for the ordinance of secession and then, in order 
to prove his faith by his works, he, with others, raised a fine 
company at his home — Midway, then Barbour, now Bullock 
County — and was chosen captain of it. At the organization of 
the regiment, as has already been stated, he was elected major 
without opposition. He was a man of fine size and splendid 
appearance, in fact one of the finest looking men in uniform in 
the Confederate Army, and the regiment was proud of him and 
expected much of him. Unfortunately, Colonel Canty did not 
take a liking to him, and he and the Major, in the fall and early 
winter of 1861, grew cold toward each other. Major Daniel's 
feelings were as delicate and sensitive as those of a woman, and 
he chafed under the irritation instead of trying to modify or allay 
it. This, of course, impaired his usefulness, and, together with 
camp life, soon impaired his health, and he resigned, greatly to 


the disappointment and regret of his friends, who were quite 
numerous. He returned home, but soon after re-entered the 
service as a captain, and was on detached service in the conscript 
department during the greater part of the war. Much of that 
time he was stationed in Abbeville, Ala., where, by his gentlemanly 
deportment, he made many friends. He was not at all constituted 
for military life. He lacked the heroic ; he was amiable and gentle. 
But he has paid the debt which is inevitable; he died at his home 
in Midway many years ago. 

After his resignation the question was much discussed as to 
who should be his successor. The regiment was raised, organized 
and officered under laws, both State and Confederate, which gave 
the men the right of electing their officers. The statutes of the 
Confederacy only reserved to the President the right to appoint 
all officers above the grade of colonel. Colonel Canty owed his 
own position to the men of the regiment. They elected him their 
colonel, yet he declined to order or allow them to hold an election 
for major, and claimed that Captain Lowther was entitled to be 
major by seniority, and published an order that Lowther would 
be respected and obeyed as major. This was all wrong, and 
caused much murmuring. It produced a prejudice against Major 
Lowther, from which he never fully recovered. The Confederate 
Congress did not pass what was known as the "Conscript Act," 
which, among other provisions, established promotions by senior- 
ity in volunteer regiments like in the regular army, until more 
than two months after Captain Lowther had been declared to be 
major. We knew that Lowther was not legally made major, yet 
we were all full of patriotism and submitted without formal 
protest. Colonel Canty always treated me personally with kind- 
ness and respect, and nothing could induce me to criticise any- 
thing he did, but for the fact that the truth of this history requires 
it. I have stated it mildly and forbearingly. This act of his 
created much unfavorable comment, and a strong petition was 
presented to him, which he refused to grant, and then to General 
Trimble, praying him to interfere and order an election; but he 
was an old army officer, and therefore averse to the republicanism 
of volunteer organizations, and hence an intimation that if an 
election was ordered an incompetent person would be elected was 
enough to make him dilatory. He was told by Colonel Canty 
that "an election would play hell with the regiment." He pock- 
eted the petition ; no decision came, and Lowther continued to act 


as major. He was the Colonel's warm personal friend, they had 
served in Mexico together, and it was but natural for the latter to 
try to secure his promotion; but he should have done it by fair 
means. Had an election been held the writer would have been 
elected major by more than two-thirds. Making Lowther's Com- 
pany "A" did not make him the ranking captain, but all of us, in 
ignorance of our rights at the organization, conceded it. Our 
remedy lay in an appeal to the Governor of the State in both 
cases, but we waived it by our silence. The Colonel was not 
guilty of anything dishonorable. He was arbitrary, and resorted 
to such means as would put in his favorite, that was all ; and I was 
somewhat that way myself sometimes when I commanded the 
regiment, and fancied, as he doubtless did, that the good of the 
service required it. The difference was that he was mistaken in 
his man, while I was not. 

At length General Johnston's order to evacuate Manassas was 
promulgated — as I now remember about the ist of March, 1862 — 
and as soon as we could cook rations and get ready, we were 
marched by the Junction in the splashing mud, where we saw huge 
piles of baggage and stores of various kinds ready for the con- 
suming flames. Vast supplies which our army soon sorely 
needed were destroyed. This was the first thing that ever gave 
me a doubt about General Johnston's generalship. Of course, 
none of us knew what necessity there was for a hasty retreat; but 
since reading Jefferson Davis's book, which says that there was 
none at all, and that Johnston's express orders were not to evac- 
uate Manassas until all of the stores and baggage were removed 
to a place of safety, the high estimate I had placed upon him as 
a general has been rather modified. 

General McClellan had no idea of moving against Johnston at 
Centerville and Manassas, as the latter supposed he was about to 
do. The following is General McClellan's report of the condition 
of things at Centerville and Manassas after they were evacuated : 

I have just returned from a ride of more than forty miles. Have exam- 
ined Centerville, Union Mills, Blackburn's Ford, etc. The rebels have left all 
their positions, and, from the information obtained during our ride today, 
I am satisfied that they have fallen behind the Rapidan, holding Fredericks- 
burg and Gordonsville. This movement from here was very sudden. They 
left many wagons, some caissons, clothing, ammunition, personal baggage, 
etc. Their winter quarters were admirably constructed, many not yet quite 
finished. The works at Centerville are formidable ; more so than at Manassas. 
Except the turnpike, the roads are horrible. The country entirely stripped of 
forage and provisions. Having fully consulted with General McDowell, I 


propose occupying Manassas with a portion of Banks's command, and then at 
once throwing all forces I can concentrate upon the line agreed upon last 
week. The Monitor justifies this course. I telegraphed this morning to have 
the transports brought to Washington, to start from there. I presume you 
will approve this course. Circumstances may keep me out here some little 
time longer. 

In addition to McClellan's report, the writings of General 
Early, then a brigade commander, and the statement of Mr. 
Davis, all confirm the fact that Johnston's retreat from Center- 
ville and Manassas was precipitate and with unnecessary haste, 
which sacrificed vast stores and supplies of all kinds. Among 
them vast quantities of clothing which the people at home had 
sent to the soldiers in trunks and boxes were unnecessarily given 
to the flames, when there was no prospect of an advance of the 
Union army. 

We continued our march, stopping at intervals to tear up the 
railroad and to burn bridges, until, footsore and weary, we 
reached the vicinity of the Rappahannock River. There Ewell's 
division was left, and General Johnston proceeded with the bal- 
ance of the army, via Gordonsville, to Richmond, and thence 
down the James River by detachments at different dates to meet 
McClellan, who was concentrating the Union army at Yorktown. 
Ewell encamped his division along the west bank of the river and 
sent the Fifteenth Alabama about two miles on the east side to 
tear up the railroad, and while thus engaged Heintzelman's Fed- 
eral division approached; and then we heard the whistle of the 
shell for the first time from a Yankee battery. We dropped our 
work of destruction and hastily retreated across the bridge to the 
west bank, pursued by Heintzelman's shells. We found Ewell's 
troops forming line of battle on the plain just back of the high 
bluff of the river. Some thirty days previously, perhaps longer, 
an officer and two or three men from each company had been fur- 
loughed, or, more properly speaking, detailed, to go home on re- 
cruiting service, and nearly all of these had just arrived with a 
large number of recruits, aggregating not less than three hundred 
men, and also the eleventh company, lettered "L," with about one 
hundred men. These raw recruits were placed in line of battle 
along with the companies to which they desired to attach them- 
selves, and when Heintzelman's shot and shell came screaming 
through the air over their heads there were wild looks and low 
dodging all along the line. Ewell ordered the bridge burnt, and, 
after some skirmishing and long-range firing, Heintzelman re- 


treated toward Manassas, and Ewell's men returned to camp. 
Heintzelman did not have more than 10,000, if so many, men. 
Ewell had over 8,000, and had he been an enterprising general 
with capacity for independent command, he would, instead of 
burning the bridge, have allowed his enemy to cross, and, while 
he was thus engaged, turned upon and defeated him. Heintzel- 
man was so far from his base and reenforcements that his defeat 
would have proved his destruction. Ewell was a first-class lieu- 
tenant, but he did not have enough confidence in himself to make 
him successful with an independent command. 

Then followed the mustering in and drilling of recruits for 
several days. As well as I remember, it was now about the mid- 
dle of March or the first of April — perhaps the last days of 
March. A spell of cold, rainy, and sleeting weather came. The 
mud everywhere was shoe-mouth deep. Much sickness ensued, 
especially among the recruits who had just come from comfort- 
able homes in a warm climate, and very many valuable men were 
lost to their families and country. During this spell of weather 
the meat rations were exhausted. The surrounding country for 
miles had been foraged out completely, and the salt rations gave 
out. The men killed a fat hog wherever he could be found, but 
pork without salt was rather poor eating, though better than no 
meat. "Uncle Jimmie Morris," as the boys called him, of my 
company, was as true a Christian as ever entered the army. While 
he was not professionally a minister of the Gospel, yet he occa- 
sionally exercised in public. He protested and remonstrated with 
all the earnestness of true Christian piety against the practice of 
"hog stealing," as he called it, when it first commenced. He 
came to me, deeply concerned, and said : "Captain, this thing is 
downright stealing, and you ought to stop it, at least in our com- 
pany. God will never prosper our cause in the face of such wick- 
edness." No rations came, and hunger drove my men every day 
or two to hunt another hog. "Uncle Jimmie" would not touch 
the meat. He said he would never eat stolen meat. He began 
to look pale, feeble, and sad. He sat about and ate his biscuit 
alone. His mess followed his example, except that now and then 
they would beg a little piece of "stolen meat" from some of their 
neighbors. At length one rainy day "Uncle Jimmie" and one of 
his mess-mates, Calvin Whatley, were absent from the camp two 
or three hours, and when they reappeared they had a porker hang- 
ing to a pole which they carried on their shoulders. As they laid 


down their load the men of the company gathered around, and a 
mischievous fellow, now a respected and useful citizen of Abbe- 
ville, Alabama, Mr. A. A. Kirkland, began to sing in a loud voice 
an extemporized song : 

"Good God, boys, was the like ever seen before, 
Uncle Jimmie Morris has stole an old boar — 
Uncle Jimmie Morris has stole an old boar." 

The old man's eyes darted glances of fire at the singer, and he 
said, "I don't care, I don't care; call it stealing if you please, but 
I will be hanged if I volunteered to starve — I will be hanged if I 
did !" There were shouts of laughter at "Uncle Jimmie's" con- 
version. While on the Rappahannock and during our starving 
period occurred what Gen. Dick Taylor, in his inimitable book, 
relates of General Ewell. He said he met Ewell one day driving 
up the oldest bull in Virginia, and on inquiring what he was going 
to do with the animal, Ewell replied that he was going to ration 
his command. General Taylor then reminded him that if the ani- 
mal could be eaten at all he would not make rations for 8,000 
men. It then for the first time occurred to Ewell, and he declared 
that he had commanded 80 dragoons on the Western plains so 
long that he had learned to do that to perfection, but had forgot- 
ten everything else he ever knew. 



Ewell's Division a Part of "Stonewall" Jackson's Army — March to Gordons- 
ville — To Stanardsville — Cross the Blue Ridge to Hawksbill Valley Near 
the Shenandoah River — The Country and the Pretty Girls. 

About the middle of April the weather improved, and there 
being no enemy in the Rappahannock country, Ewell marched 
westward across the Rapidan River to Gordonsville, and en- 
camped near some mills a few miles north of that place, where we 
had some days of beautiful spring weather. Ewell's division 
now belonged to Stonewall Jackson's command, and when we 
broke camp again it was to march to the foot of the Blue Ridge, 
where we encamped for a few days near Stanardsville. The 
weather was now cold and disagreeable again, and some sleet fell. 
It was about the first of May. Many of the men contracted pneu- 
monia, especially those who had but two or three months before 
recovered from the measles. Some had camp fever, and many 
died at an improvised field hospital at the foot of the mountains, 
at or near Stanardsville. Soon the order came to cross the Blue 
Ridge; never will I forget that beautiful spring morning. It had 
rained a little and sleeted a little during the night. The long lines 
of infantry, four abreast, filled the winding road through Stan- 
ards' Gap. On the top of the mountain you could look over the 
country that lay behind us to the Potomac, and before us lay the 
beautiful valley of Shenandoah, which in after years the brutal 
Sheridan boasted that he would make so bare of sustenance that 
if a crow were to fly across it he would have to take his rations 
with him to keep from starving; and he came near making his 
word good in 1864, by the indiscriminate application of the torch 
to private property. In the midst of that valley the Massanutten 
Mountain rears his crest into the clouds, and miles and miles be- 
yond the beautiful valley extends to the foot of the Alleghanies. 
This was the valley in which Stonewall Jackson performed those 
feats of war which confounded his enemies and astounded the 


world, and which have been so often justly compared to the 
achievements of Bonaparte in Italy. As the frozen raindrops in 
icicles hung upon the trees, glistening in the sunbeams as brightly 
as stalactites, Taylor's Louisiana brigade in the advance, followed 
by Trimble's, Kirkland in his gay uniform at the head of the 
Twenty-first North Carolina, Canty following with the Fifteenth 
Alabama, then Posey and his Mississippians, Mercer and his 
Georgians, with all the bands playing "Listen to the Mocking- 
Bird," while Early's brigade brought up the rear, made a scene 
of unsurpassed grandeur. Ewell encamped in Hawksbill Valley 
between the Blue Ridge and the river, near its bank. Banks's 
army was on Massanutten and about Harrisonburg at its western 
base. Jackson left Ewell to hold him in check, and with .his own 
division ran away at night and met Milroy's army in the Alle- 
ghanies, at McDowell, a day's march to the west, and after an 
engagement of four hours, won a glorious victory and forced the 
enemy, broken and disorganized, to retreat to Romney. Hawks- 
bill was one of the largest valleys between the mountain range and 
the river. The people were poor and possessed but small farms, 
which, however, were quite fertile, like those in the valleys of the 
Alps of Switzerland, and resembling them in many respects. The 
people were not well informed, nor were they grossly ignorant; 
they were Virginia's peasantry, and a good, honest class. They 
did not own any slaves, but were intensely Southern in sentiment. 
John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, at the other end of the 
great valley, the previous year, had contributed largely to the de- 
velopment thereof. The young men of Hawksbill had gone into 
the army ; the girls were numerous and very pretty. There never 
had been any soldiers in this valley, and our presence was wel- 
comed as the signal for joyous and gay times. Their hospitality 
was unbounded. No Confederate soldier was ever turned away 
hungry from one of those rude and humble homes so long as they 
had subsistence for themselves within ; and therein they were true 
Virginians. Many of the young Alabama soldiers found sweet- 
hearts here, and some of the married men almost wished that they 
were not, and were half-way inclined to turn Mormon and marry 
again, at least for during the war. The girls were so pretty and 
friendly, these rascals were almost excusable for becoming infat- 
uated. There were but few, however, who exhibited much of this 
amiable weakness, or perhaps the more correct expression, "weak- 
ness to amiability." One notable instance was a man who ever 


since he ceased fighting as a Confederate soldier has been a soldier 
of the cross, and has devoted his life to piety. The people of this 
valley were perfect pictures of health. They might well say of 
their country, as did the poet Pope's vain man of Nature's boun- 
teous gifts to him : 

"For me, kind nature wakes her genial power; 
Suckles each herb, and spreads out every flower; 
Annul for me, the grape, the rose, renew 
The juice nectarious, and the balmy dew; 
For me, the mine a thousand treasures brings ; 
For me, health gushes from a thousand springs." 

The boys were just a little too happy in Hawksbill. Orders 
came to get ready to march: "And there were sudden partings, 
such as press the life from out young hearts, and choking sighs 
which ne'er might be repeated." 

Ewell marched across the Shenandoah and to Massanutten 
Mountain to demonstrate against Banks, and the latter, hearing 
of the discomfiture of Milroy, fell back down the valley, and the 
next day Ewell returned to Hawksbill. The boys and their 
sweethearts rejoiced at this unexpected fortune of war; but it 
was of short duration, as our stay was brief. Good-by, pretty 
girls! This time we left, never to return. As soon as Jackson 
returned from McDowell, he moved against Banks, by Harrison- 
burg and along the turnpike leading from Staunton to Winches- 
ter ; while Ewell moved through the Luray Valley along the east 
bank of the Shenandoah, thus keeping on the flank of Banks, who 
was rapidly falling back on Strasburg. Day by day the race con- 
tinued. When we marched through the villages of Luray and 
Honeytown the ladies were out in full force to witness our pas- 
sage, and they generally were the most perfect beauties my eyes 
ever beheld. The river runs along the western base of the Blue 
Ridge, which rises in places so perpendicularly that there is barely 
room for a wagon road between the river and the mountain ; but 
at other points the latter is indented with extensive and fertile 
valleys. These beautiful women were reared in these coves, shut 
out from the morning sun until 8 or 9 o'clock each day, and drink- 
ing the pure, sparkling waters, which gush from the mountain 
side as clear as crystal and cold as ice, they were the pictures of 
health. Like the poet Burns's beauty, "Their cheeks looked like 
lilies dip't in wine, their teeth like ivory." They were brim-full 
of patriotism, and enthusiastic for our cause. I felt that I was 


marching to a carnival of death, through the portals of Heaven, 
and that the angels were singing and cheering me on, when a 
group of these beauties in Luray sang with the sweetest voices I 
ever heard : 

"Virginia ! Virginia ! the home of the free, 
The birthplace of Washington, the land of liberty." 



The Affair at Front Royal— Ashby's Cavalry Charge a Regiment— Saving a 
Burning Bridge — The Battle of Winchester — Pursuit of Banks — The Fif- 
teenth on a Two-mile Run Before Breakfast — An Incident During a Halt. 

As we were approaching Front Royal on the morning of the 
23d of May the men were ordered to pile up knapsacks and let 
the wagons take them, so as to be in good fighting trim. The 
artillery moved forward rapidly. Soon it was heard — Boom, 
boom, boom ! Then came the order down the line, "Close up, 
men," and the head of the column struck off at the double-quick. 
Soon we were halted and formed into line of battle on the hill 
overlooking the little town of Front Royal. A few shot and 
shell from a Yankee battery screeched through the air, tore up 
some trees and the ground in a few places, and frightened some 
of us considerably. We were moved forward rapidly in line, ex- 
pecting every moment to become engaged, as the small arms kept 
up a lively popping in the town; but I soon discovered that we 
were only in support of Taylor's brigade, and it was a great relief 
to me to know that that brigade was between us and the Yankees 
and was driving them handsomely and needed no help. There 
were but one or two regiments and a battery of Union troops in 
the place, and Wheat's Tiger battalion and Bradley T Johnson's 
Maryland regiment alone routed and drove them from the town. 
The First Maryland Federal regiment confronted the First Mary- 
land Confederate regiment, but the Confederates were too hard for 
their fellow-citizens. North of the north fork of the Shenan- 
doah, in a beautiful plain some mile and a half distant, I wit- 
nessed at a distance, from a high hill south of the town, a charge 
of a part of Ashby's cavalry upon that Federal Maryland regi- 
ment, formed in square. It was a beautiful sight. Eight com- 
panies of cavalry in line of battle, with drawn sabres glistening in 
the evening sun, were led in a charge in the open field by Captain 
Sheets, who was killed. Many of the horses were bayoneted in 


the breast. The fight continued along the pike for near two miles 
before the regiment was finally broken. After their colonel was 
killed, some surrendered and others fled to the woods. 

When that regiment crossed the north fork, which was 
not fordable, they set the north end of the bridge on fire. Colonel 
Kelley, with the Eighth Louisiana Regiment, was in close pur- 
suit and ordered the leading company to swim the river and ex- 
tinguish the fire, which they did ; but two of the men, who could 
not swim, were drowned while their comrades were executing the 
order. They carried water from the river in their hats and can- 
teens, extinguished the fire, and saved the bridge. We crossed, 
and as the sun was then getting low, we encamped on the plain. 

On the 24th we marched along the pike to Winchester, and 
took several prisoners, who voluntarily came in from the woods 
to which they had fled from Ashby's men the previous evening. 
During our march we could hear the artillery firing at Strasburg 
to the west of us, where Jackson was engaging Banks. About 
midday the heavy columns of black smoke which rose in that di- 
rection told us very plainly that Banks had set fire to his depot of 
stores and was on the retreat to Winchester Taylor's brigade 
about this time turned to the left and took the road to Middle- 
town, midway between Strasburg and Winchester, to intercept 
Banks in his retreat, which it did with fine effect. Ewell contin- 
ued on the direct road with Trimble's and Early's brigades. The 
fighting had continued at intervals along the other pike, approach- 
ing nearer and nearer until late in the evening, when it ceased and 
all was quiet. It was the calm which precedes the storm. 

On the night of the 24th of May an attack on Banks in the town 
of Winchester was intended, but General Ewell ascertained that 
there was a strong force posted behind the stone fence on either 
side of the broad pike for half a mile out from the town, and 
deemed it too hazardous for a night attack. We stood in the 
road all night and suffered intensely from cold. We were not 
permitted to sit down, but were kept standing all night. It was a 
precaution wholly unnecessary and a cruel punishment. Two or 
three men and a trusty officer from each company would have 
been enough to have kept standing and on the alert. Not a word 
was spoken above a whisper. The men shivered and their teeth 
chattered with the cold, and they would stack up and brace against 
each other fifteen or twenty in a group to keep from freezing. 
Just as day dawned Colonel Kirkland moved forward with the 


Twenty-first North Carolina down the pike, supported by the 
Sixteenth Mississippi and Twenty-first Georgia, and began the 
attack. The Fifteenth Alabama was held in reserve until the battle 
was fairly over. Kirkland, Posey and Mercer drove the enemy 
handsomely for a short distance ; the firing then became heavy and 
their advance was temporarily checked. Kirkland's fine bay 
mare, richly caparisoned, went dashing through the field, rider- 
less and frantic. A few moments later four men bore him past 
us on a litter, shot through both thighs. Now the firing opened 
heavily on the Strasburg Pike and in the southern suburbs of the 
town. Jackson's old division was there. Early closed the gap 
in our lines between Trimble's left and Jackson's right. A bat- 
tery in the town was firing vigorously on Trimble's three regi- 
ments engaged, and a movement was made by a body of Federals 
to flank him on the right. This led the Fifteenth through a field 
of tall wheat, which wet us to the waist with cold dew, and in 
double-quick time we outflanked the flankers and formed line 
squarely in front of the battery, which was now paying its re- 
spects to us with both spherical case shells and solid shot. After 
a rectification of alignment a forward movement caused the bat- 
tery to withdraw to a safer position. Our comrades were now in 
plain view, driving the Yankees through the streets, and the citi- 
zens, whom they had so long oppressed and insulted, shouted to 
our men from their doors and windows and cheered them on. 
Even ladies came into the streets and risked their lives, cheering 
our men, giving them water, and helping the wounded. About 
this moment Taylor's brigade opened a furious fire on the Yan- 
kees from the western side of the town. One of the Irishmen in 
Captain Hart's company shouted aloud, "Ah, me boys, that's 
Taylor; that's the jenewine Irish yell." Assailed upon the east, 
south, and west, and driven at all points, the only avenue of escape 
for Banks was north along the railroad to Harper's Ferry. This 
road starts out from Winchester nearly north, but soon curves 
around to east northeast. As Banks began to give way, Canty 
was ordered to take the shorter route through the woods and in- 
tercept the retreating column. He put his horse in a trot and the 
regiment on the run for two miles through the woods and fields, 
and ran us nearly to death. Just think of it at this late day- 
marched all day, stood up in the road freezing all night, ran 
through a wheat field and wet to the waist with dew, shot at by a 
Yankee battery about fifty times, and then to keep up with a horse 


on a run of two miles before breakfast ! Who would voluntarily 
undertake such a task now ? Well, after all, we reached the rail- 
road just in time to see the Yankees go out of sight, running pell- 
mell, the road strewn with guns, cartridge-boxes, hats, cloaks, 
coats, canteens, and knapsacks, and just behind and now passing 
us came Gen. George H. Stewart and Colonel Mumford, with a 
regiment of cavalry, in hot pursuit. We lay down and panted 
like dogs tired out in the chase, and all felt like we wanted to have 
a good time and "jine the cavalry, jine the cavalry;" but we were 
in the foot service, and there was no getting out of it. We went 
into camp, cooked rations, ate ravenously, and rested two days. 
Then we were off again, this time for Harper's Ferry in pursuit 
of Banks. One hard day's march, and just after night-fall we 
passed through the village of Charlestown, where nearly two 
years before old John Brown and his associates in crime were 
hanged. His raid upon and capture of Harper's Ferry was, the 
real beginning of the war. 

While halted in the road just beyond the town and soon after 
dark two of the sixteen-year-old boys in my company quarreled. 
Lieutenant Brainard took their muskets and told them to step 
out of ranks and settle it. They did so, and had a lively fisti- 
cuff, and made a draw fight. Honors were easy. I only men- 
tion this because one of those boys, after a most checkered and 
novel experience, attained a standing of high respectability, and 
for many years held the highest office in his county I refer to 
Judge B. M. Stevens, of Coffee County, whose real name in the 
war was Charles W Raleigh. 

We went into camp beyond the village about two miles down 
the Ferry Road, and in the neighborhood of Halltown. The next 
morning Jackson moved all his forces against Banks, who re- 
treated, after a few rounds from Jackson's batteries, from Har- 
per's Ferry across the Potomac. We barely got in sight of the 
place. About 10 o'clock A. M. we were put on a forced march 
back to Winchester, and reached our old camp at that place about 
one hour after dark, a distance of thirty miles. Jackson had in- 
formation that Fremont's army from Romney and Shields's army 
from Washington, via the Manassas Gap Railroad, would make 
a junction at Strasburg and thus pen him up in the lower valley, 
and with communications cut off, compel him to surrender. The 
order was to cook two days' rations and be ready to march 
again at daylight the next morning. Thus began the long race 
up the Valley for a hundred miles of fighting and maneuvering. 



Jackson in the Valley Confronted by Three Armies — March From Winchester 
to Strasburg — Up the Valley to Harrisonburg — The Killing of General 
Ashby — Capture of Sir Percy Wyndham — The Battles of Cross Keys and 
Port Republic — What Jackson Accomplished in His Valley Campaign. 

At daylight on the morning of the 30th we were marching 
through the streets of Winchester along the macadamized road 
that led to Strasburg and beyond. The army now consisted of 
less than 15,000 men, whose march was burdened and encum- 
bered by the immense captures made at Winchester — some 4,000 
prisoners, about 500 wagons and teams, enough to fill the road for 
four or five miles, besides a large drove of beef cattle and a flock 
of sheep. We did not camp that night ; but at a late hour — mid- 
night or after — we filed out into the woods, the length of a regi- 
ment, stacked arms, and went to sleep. At daylight we were on 
the march again, and by 9 o'clock A. M. were in Strasburg. To 
our utter amazement the head of the column was wheeled to the 
right and took the Romney Road. No one could conjecture 
where we were going. But just before we reached the five-mile 
post, about 1 1 o'clock, two batteries went to the front in double- 
quick time, unlimbered and opened fire. The Fifteenth soon 
found a place in the line of battle, formed upon an eminence over- 
looking a long valley for one or two miles, in which we discov- 
ered Fremont's army — 20,000 strong — on its way to Strasburg. 
The enemy was evidently thrown into confusion by the fire of 
our batteries, under which Jackson advanced Taliaferro's brigade, 
which attacked Fremont's advance and caused it to retire. We 
remained in position about one hour, and then counter-marched 
on Strasburg. Trimble's brigade occupied a beautiful eminence 
southwest of the burg, and less than an hour after we arrived I 
saw the flags of Shields's army — 15,000 strong — coming up the 
Shenandoah from Front Royal, intending to form a junction with 
Fremont ; but Shields discovered that he was too late by at least 


three hours. Had Jackson been that much later 35,000 men 
would have confronted him, when Banks, reenforced, would have 
closed in on his rear and thus would the fame of the immortal 
Stonewall and his "foot cavalry" have ingloriously terminated, 
and Richmond would have fallen in 1862 instead of 1865. So 
much in generalship depends upon celerity of movement. 

That evening the rain poured in torrents. We remained on 
the hill until about one hour after dark. The hillside was muddy 
and almost as slick as glass. The files had to lock arms to steady 
each other, and many fell in the mud. One little fellow named 
Woodham, belonging to my company, fell several times; at last 
he sat down in a small pool of muddy water. The splash attracted 
attention, and he looked around without attempting to rise, and 
exclaimed, "Well, damn me if I don't wish that the world would 
come to an end before daylight !" That young man, later in the 
war, deserted. Trimble's brigade was the rear-guard of the in- 
fantry that night and the next day. Fremont's cavalry was com- 
manded by Sir Percy Wyndham, an Englishman, supported by 
the "Buck-Tail Rifles," a Pennsylvania regiment which carried no 
baggage and kept up with the cavalry. Wyndham was an enter- 
prising officer, and made attacks upon our rear day and night. 
We would march a mile or two and form line of battle across the 
road, facing to the rear, when they would halt and open on us with 
artillery. We w6uld then move on again. At night some other 
brigade would take the rear. It rained every day and night. The 
road was shoe-mouth deep in mud. My feet were blistered all 
over, on top as well as the bottom. I never was so tired and 
sleepy. Several times I went to sleep as I marched at the head of 
my company, and my orderly-sergeant, Joe Balkum, who was an 
iron man, would catch me by the arm, shake and call me, "Cap- 
tain, Captain!" to arouse me. This march commenced on the 
30th of May, and on the 6th of June we reached Harrisonburg, 
where Jackson quit the pike. The bridge across the west branch 
of the Shenandoah on the turnpike leading to Staunton having 
been burnt by him some time before when he went in pursuit of 
Milroy, he now took a country road to the left leading to Port 
Republic. It was getting about time for him to strike another 
blow anyway. General Shields had marched through the Luray 
Valley on the east side of the Shenandoah, vainly seeking to cross 
and unite with Fremont. But Jackson had Colonel Mumford 
with his cavalry regiment keep ahead of Shields and burn all the 


bridges so that he could not cross. On Friday evening, the 6th 
of June, near Harrisonburg, Sir Percy undertook to "bag" Gen- 
eral Ashby, as he expressed it, and was himself bagged, or cap- 
tured. But the "Buck-Tails," coming up, joined in the fight, and 
most unfortunately for our cause, Ashby, while leading the Fifty- 
eighth Virginia and First Maryland regiments against them, was 
killed. Colonel Kane, of the "Buck-Tails," was also killed or 
mortally wounded, and his regiment decimated. That night we 
camped at Union Church, where the Fifteenth Alabama was left 
on picket and all the balance of the army was scattered along the 
road to Port Republic, some six or seven miles distant. All of 
Saturday we were not molested. On Sunday morning, the 8th 
of June, Lieutenant-Colonel Treutlin was to the front with two 
companies deployed as skirmishers, when firing commenced. It 
got pretty lively, when Colonel Treutlin brought in his men, ac- 
cording to previous instructions. Colonel Canty had formed the 
regiment in line of battle along the crest of a little hill with a grad- 
ual slope and open field in our front about one hundred yards to 
the woods. A skirmish line of the enemy appeared at the edge of 
the woods ; the men were anxious to fire, and I could hear the 
click, click, click of locks along the line; but just at that moment 
Colonel Canty gave the command, "By the right of companies to 
the rear into column , double-quick, march !" and away we went 
for about a mile through wheat fields, crossing two or three rail 
fences, not firing a shot, and nothing that I could see but a line of 
skirmishers in hot pursuit, firing upon us and doing some execu- 
tion, until Courtney's battery opened on them from a hill in our 
front and put a stop to their pursuit. Lieutenant Mills, of Com- 
pany E, from Dale County, was killed, and William Toney, of 
Company K, from Barbour County, one of the brightest and best 
boys in the regiment, was mortally wounded, and perhaps one or 
two others, whose names I do not now remember. Colonel Canty 
gave his reason for ordering the retreat, that there was a regiment- 
over in the field flanking us on the right. I did not see that regi- 
ment ; but the colonel was mounted, and no doubt saw it. I think, 
however, that he made a mistake in retreating, and should have 
fought both regiments, the one on the flank as well as the one in 
front, and could have whipped both of them. The Fifteenth did 
on other fields afterwards do even better fighting than that would 
have been. But it was a new business with us then. The Col- 
onel may have had other reasons for ordering the retreat, which I 


knew not of. It is but just to him, however, to add in this con- 
nection that General Trimble, in his official report, complimented 
him for his "skilful and timely retreat." We were united with 
our brigade and placed behind a fence, with a field of buckwheat 
150 yards wide in our front between us and a body of woods. 
Blencker's division of Dutch people, of whose depredations and 
brutality there had been great complaint by the citizens of Vir- 
ginia, now advanced upon us. Our men could not be restrained, 
and fired too soon — as soon as the enemy emerged from the 
woods. But the firing of the Fifteenth was immediately checked. 
A few moments elapsed and a column of the enemy, marching by 
the flank on the opposite side of a fence running at right angles 
from that behind which we lay and intending to flank us on the 
left, walked right up to the Twenty-first Georgia, which just 
mowed them down in piles at a single volley. 

After receiving the destructive fire of the Georgians the enemy 
retired into the woods and began to extend his line so as to en- 
velop the Confederate right. General Trimble moved the Fif- 
teenth by the right flank around the fence and down a hollow 
some two hundred yards, and then divided it and sent the left bat- 
talion under Lieutenant-Colonel Treutlin against a regiment of 
the Dutch on the top of the hill in the woods and took the right 
battalion under Colonel Canty farther around to the right to cap- 
ture a battery which was playing upon us. When he arrived at 
the foot of the hill on which the battery was, he halted the battalion 
and rode up the hill, where he found that it was supported by a 
brigade, which was too much even for that recklessly brave old 
man, and he withdrew. While the right was thus engaged, Col- 
onel Treutlin, with the left battalion, attacked and made a gallant 
fight for about twenty minutes. Capt. Robert Hill, of Company 
L, and six others were killed on the field, and twenty-eight were 
wounded. The enemy had the advantage of position and were 
two to one. They were reenforced by another regiment. Colonel 
Treutlin undertook to withdraw, when a panic seized his com- 
mand, and it retreated in confusion ; but the men were, with few 
exceptions, halted and reformed when they reached the valley 
from which the advance had been made. Treutlin ordered them 
to advance again. The Yankees at the same time advanced, and 
doubtless we would have been utterly routed, but Colonels Mercer 
and Posey, perceiving the situation, crossed the fence behind 
which we left them, came across the buckwheat field and through 


the woods, and attacked the enemy in flank and drove them from 
their position in confusion. The right battalion now rejoined us 
and the regiment took its place in the line. Ewell's whole divis- 
ion now advanced, and for a few minutes the engagement became 
general. At dark the Confederates had driven the Federals back 
to Union Church, a distance of about one mile. Trimble's brigade 
lost twenty-five killed, twenty-five wounded, and four missing, 
which -was much heavier than any other brigade sustained. Gen- 
eral Ewell estimated the loss of the enemy in killed and wounded 
at two thousand, which was probably an over-estimate. Briga- 
dier-Generals Elzy and George H. Stewart, of Ewell's division, 
were wounded. The total loss of the regiment in the action was 
six killed, thirteen wounded, and two missing, supposed to have 
been captured on picket in the forenoon. All night we lay in line 
of battle and could see the Yankees around their camp-fires and 
hear them talking. Trimble wanted to attack them, but Ewell 
would not permit him to do so, because Jackson was preparing 
to fight Shields the next morning at Port Republic, and to this 
end withdrew very secretly during the night from Fremont's front 
all of the troops except Trimble's brigade, which followed in quick 
time at early dawn. No brigade ever marched five miles in a 
shorter space of time. About sunrise, when we were within three 
miles, we heard the battle open at Port Republic. When we 
reached the high hill which overlooks the town the battle was rag- 
ing in the plain or valley between the mountain and the river be- 
low the town. \\ inder's division was being slowly beaten back; 
the celebrated Ringgold battery of six guns, said to have been 
used in Mexico, was placed on an elevation at the foot of the 
mountain, and swept the plain like the hot lava from an erupting 
volcano , Taylor's brigade was forming to charge it. Jackson 
rode up to Taylor and said, "General Taylor, can you take that 
battery?" Taylor turned to his men and cried aloud, "Louis- 
ianians, can you take that battery?" They responded with a 
shout. "Then charge and take it !" They did so after a terrible 
struggle with a brigade of Irishmen who were supporting it. The 
battery was captured and lost three times before they held it. 
After the battle Jackson presented the guns to Taylor's brigade, 
and named it the "Louisiana Battery." 

Port Republic was a small village and situated in the fork of 
the two Shenandoahs. The larger one we crossed on a covered 
bridge. A pile of straw lay on either side of it ready for burning, 


and as soon as the brigade crossed fire was set to it. We then 
had to cross the south Shenandoah to get to the battle-field. Jack- 
son had made a bridge of wagons across it, over which we 
marched without halting. Some supposed that this invention 
was originated by him, and it may have been; but LaCourb, a 
Frenchman, accounted the best general of light troops in moun- 
tain warfare in Europe, did the same thing in 1797. He con- 
structed a bridge of wagons across a more difficult stream and 
crossed his entire corps on it in the face of the enemy. 

Trimble formed his brigade and advanced to strike the enemy 
on Taylor's left ; but before becoming engaged, which the enemy 
anticipated, as our advance was through the open field in full view, 
Taylor had silenced the battery, Shields's lines were broken and 
retreated, and the battle of Port Republic was won. 

At daylight Fremont discovered, to his surprise, that the 
"naughty rebels" had run away during the night and left him to 
eat his breakfast undisturbed ; but the sound of the guns soon told 
him that they were paying their respects, in an early morning sal- 
utation, to his friend Shields. Fremont hurried forward, but 
arrived just in time to see Shields in full retreat, the bridge in 
flames and the river unfordable. His cavalry galloped up and 
down the river bank ; he fired his artillery at us, but we were out 
of its range. His impotent rage was so great that his artillery 
was turned upon our ambulances and parties engaged in the hu- 
mane labors of attending to the dead and wounded of both sides. 
That evening Jackson hid his whole army in the woods, in 
crevices and behind the rocks on the mountain side, where we 
had to stand up to sleep or incur the risk of being killed by a slide 
down the mountain. He sent his cavalry across the river at a 
ford higher up, which created the impression that he was advanc- 
ing, and so frightened Fremont that he beat a hasty retreat down 
the Valley, leaving a large number of his wounded, who fell into 
our hands and were paroled. Jackson went into camp, to rest and 
recruit his army, at Weir's Cave, on the 12th. He published or- 
ders for thanksgiving and prayer and a general court martial. I 
was appointed judge advocate of that court, and had, for the first 
time, an interview with him. 

The following statement of the material results of the cam- 
paign I adopt as true : In three months Jackson had marched six 
hundred miles ; fought four pitched battles, seven minor engage- 
ments, and daily skirmishes ; had defeated four armies ; captured 


seven pieces of artillery, ten thousand stands of arms, four thou- 
sand prisoners, five hundred wagons and teams, three hundred 
head of beef cattle, and a very great amount of stores, inflicting 
upon his adversaries a known loss of ten thousand men, with a 
loss upon his own part comparatively small. It was a most re- 
markable campaign, especially when it is known that his whole 
force did not exceed fifteen thousand men at the beginning. 



Jackson Reenforced for a Double Purpose — McClellan as a General — Mistake 
of Lincoln and Stanton — The Situation at Norfolk and Yorktown — The 
Merrimac, or Virginia — Battle in Hampton Roads — Destruction of the 
Virginia — General Magruder's Engineering Skill — Gen. Joseph E. Johns- 
ton in Command on Peninsula Confronting McClellan's Army — Johns- 
ton's Retreat to Chickahominy — Battle of Seven Pines — Wounding of 
General Johnston — Colonel Lomax Killed — General Lee Assigned to the 
Command of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

At Wier's Cave, Jackson remained five days, giving his weary, 
footsore men a much-needed rest. During this time he was re- 
enforced by Whiting's division, which had been sent from Rich- 
mond via Lynchburg by General Lee, for the alleged purpose of 
driving the enemy out of the Valley, but was intended to deceive 
them. It consisted of two brigades — Hood's Texas and Whit- 
ing's — then commanded by Colonel Law, of the Fourth Alabama 
Regiment. Lawton's brigade, consisting of six Georgia regi- 
ments, came from Savannah, and also joined Jackson. 

On the 17th day of June, Jackson, leaving Brigadier-General 
Robertson with all of the cavalry (excepting Mumford's Second 
Virginia) and Chew's battery in the Valley, marched with his 
whole force, now consisting of the two brigades of Whiting's di- 
vision, the four brigades of Jackson's division, the three brigades 
and the Maryland line of E well's division, to which was added 
Lawton's brigade, and the batteries of Riley, Balthis, Brockin- 
brough, Carrington, Courtney, Peague, Carpenter, and Wooding, 
aggregating thirty-four guns and 25,000 men, in the direction of 
Richmond via Charlottesville. On the 25th the column reached 
Ashland, a station on the Fredericksburg Railroad twelve miles 
from Richmond, having marched about one hundred and thirty or 
forty miles. General Lee had been since June 1st, when General 
Johnston was wounded, in command of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, and knew the plans of the enemy. He sent Whiting to 


reenforce Jackson, notwithstanding McClellan's army was over 
100,000 strong, and had at one point approached to within seven 
miles of Richmond. McDowell was at Fredericksburg with a 
corps of 20,000 men. Lee's object was to create the impression 
in Washington that the reenforcement of Jackson meant the cap- 
ture of that city and to swap capitals with them in the event that 
McClellan captured Richmond. It had the desired effect. Pres- 
ident Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton ordered McDowell 
to proceed to the Valley via the Manassas Gap Railroad to head 
off Jackson in the lower Shenandoah and keep him out of Mary- 
land. McClellan protested against it and insisted that the Presi- 
dent and Secretary had promised him McDowell's assistance, 
which would enable him to capture the "rebel capital" at once. 
McDowell advised against being sent to the Valley, but Lincoln 
and Stanton had heard too much of Jackson's methods; they 
feared him, and the Confederate authorities had caused a very 
exaggerated report to reach them as to the number of reenforce- 
ments sent to Jackson. The protest and remonstrances of 
McClellan and McDowell were disregarded. Consequently, while 
Jackson was marching to Ashland, McDowell was hurrying his 
corps to Front Royal in the opposite direction. When he arrived 
he failed to find Jackson, of course, and then marched back again, 
like the French King who 

"With ten thousand men 
Marched up the hill, 
And then marched down again." 

What a terrible mistake this was upon the part of Mr. Lincoln 
and his War Secretary. Had they not interfered it was strongly 
probable, almost certain, that Richmond would have fallen. 
General McClellan, who was at that time a great favorite with the 
army and people north, might have won the Presidency of the 
United States instead of Grant; more than two years of hard 
fighting, the loss of many thousands of valuable lives, and 
hundreds of millions of dollars might have been saved; but this 
interference lost the opportunity. 

Gen. George B. McClellan was a graduate of West Point and 
stood high in the old army. He was a good general, a splendid 
organizer and disciplinarian, rather slow and cautious in his move- 
ments, but when engaged a hard fighter. McClellan was a high- 
toned gentleman and observed strictly the rules of civilized and 


honorable warfare, and advised against the policy of the Admin- 
istration of practicing emancipation of slaves wherever they came 
within the lines of the Union army. Being a Democrat, he was 
not a favorite with the Lincoln Administration. He was relieved 
from command November i, 1862. In 1864 he ran against 
Lincoln for the Presidency, but the latter was elected by an over- 
whelming majority. McClellan wrote a book on the war and 
lived several years after its close. 

In order that the reader may have a clearer idea of what General 
Jackson's campaign in the Valley accomplished in substantial 
benefits to the Confederates, and General Lee's grand strategy, it 
is necessary to make a brief statement of the military situation in 
Virginia at that time and immediately theretofore. 

In the South on March 1, 1862, the Union gunboats entered 
the Savannah River, invested Fort Pulaski, and landed General 
Gilmore with a large force and a considerable number of heavy 
guns. The siege culminated after a time in the surrender of the 
fort. This detained a considerable number of troops down there 
which otherwise could have been sent to the aid of Virginia. 

In Hampton Roads the great naval battle had been fought and 
won by the Confederates. The Merrimac, which the Confederates 
had previously captured, was coated with railroad iron, and thus 
protected she steamed down to where three United States ships of 
war were, and attacked and destroyed two of them — the Congress 
and the Cumberland — and crippled the third, but she escaped. 
ThtMerrimac thus coated was called the Virginia,and this success 
made her the mistress of the water in the Roads and bay. The 
United States soon brought around the Monitor ironclad to attack 
the Virginia, which it did only at a long range, and remained near 
the Rip Raps between Sewell's Point and the fort, apparently 
afraid to advance on the Virginia. This Confederate machine, 
called the Virginia, and its success, wrought a great revolution in 
the navies of the world. Up to that time the idea of ironclad 
naval vessels had never occurred to the builders of war ships any- 
where. No navy had ironclad ships until after this Confederate 
invention. Now every navy in the world of any respectability has 
ironclad vessels. This was, to say the least, one great benefit to 
mankind resulting from the Confederate war. The dread of the 
Virginia and the Confederate batteries on the Potomac caused 
General McClellan to transport his troops to Fortress Monroe and 
the Peninsula via Annapolis, where they embarked and went by 


transport from that point. It had been determined by the Gov- 
ernment at Washington, on the advice of General McClellan, to 
make the advance on Richmond via the Peninsula, between the 
James and York rivers, and in order to accomplish that it was 
necessary to neutralize the Virginia's operations, hence the Moni- 
tor kept the position at Fortress Monroe and between there and 
Norfolk. At that time, and in fact for months previously, Gen. 
John B. Magruder, with about 8,000 troops, occupied the Penin- 
sula from the York to the James River. The Warwick River 
was a small stream skirted by marshes across the Peninsula from 
near Yorktown to the James River, and he made dams, forming 
pools that were impassable except along the line between them, 
which could be inundated and which enabled his small command 
to hold this position. This line, with the fortifications and 
batteries in Norfolk, the navy-yard at Sewell's Point and Craney 
Island, gave the Confederates a strong position, but the Union 
troops proceeding to the Peninsula avoided all the latter fortifi- 

About the first of April McClellan had concentrated his army 
of nearly 100,000 men on the Peninsula. He made several assaults 
which Magruder was enabled to resist in consequence of his fortifi- 
cations and the reenforcements which he had received from 
General Johnston's army. Johnston was then ordered to the 
command of the Peninsula and the surroundings, and after he 
spent a day or two in the examination of the situation he returned 
to Richmond and reported that the positions were indefensible and 
in favor of evacuating the same and falling back nearer to Rich- 
mond. A. council of war was held, composed of Generals J. E. 
Johnston, Robert E. Lee, Longstreet and G. W Smith. The 
latter two agreed with Johnston; Lee did not and believed that 
the Peninsula was a good one to defend. President Davis decided 
with him, and Johnston returned to his army, then but little more 
than 50,000 strong. He assumed command and held his ground 
for a time, then had to fall back to a second defensive line, and 
again urged the President in favor of his policy of falling back 
and making the defense nearer Richmond. The latter partially 
yielded and sent the Secretaries of War and Navy down to see 
about the removal of everything valuable from the navy-yard, 
Norfolk and the headquarters at Yorktown before the evacuation 
began. Soon after they arrived at Norfolk they found that 
General Huger, who commanded there, had just received an order 


from General Johnston for an immediate evacuation, but the 
secretaries interposed and delayed the movement for a week and 
had removed the greater part of the valuables. Then General 
Johnston's order was carried out and the army fell back to the 
Chickahominy River without any engagement except a small fight 
near Williamsburg between Hancock's brigade and General 
Early's, in which the latter was severely wounded, but otherwise 
it seems to have been pretty nearly a drawn battle. Early's troops 
held the field that night, but abandoned it the next morning to 
join the retreating army. 

When the Peninsula was abandoned General Johnston retreated. 
Norfolk and the navy-yard had been abandoned, and the Merrimac 
or Virginia ascended the James River as far as her heavy draught 
would allow, and was then blown up and sunk by Commodore 
Tatnall, her commander, to avoid her capture. The story afloat 
in books and Northern newspapers that she was sunk by the 
Monitor is an absolute falsehood. The battle between the two 
vessels occurred several weeks before Johnston's retreat. It was 
fought at long range, and the Monitor dropped back under the 
guns of Fortress Monroe, and though dared by the Virginia every 
day to come out away from the fort and fight the Virginia single- 
handed, she would not do it. The destruction of that vessel was 
a great loss to the Confederates and opened up the James River 
to the Union gunboats all the way to Drury's Bluff, eleven miles 
below Richmond. They ascended to that point, had a battle with 
the batteries and were repulsed. The batteries were immediately 
thereafter increased and strengthened, and obstructions sunk in 
the river at the Bluff, so that no gunboats ascended the river above 
that point during the war, or until Richmond was evacuated in 
April, 1865. Johnston ultimately formed his line of defense 
behind or on the Richmond side of the Chickahominy River, 
extending it on the right to the Bluff. McClellan formed his line 
on the other or southeast side of the stream. His left wing did 
not reach the James, where he could have had the aid of the Union 
navy in the river, but was miles north of the stream, so as to keep 
between the point of distribution of his supplies on the York 
River, which was selected high enough up that stream so that his 
interposition between that and the Confederates would also keep 
his army between them and Washington, thus protecting his base 
of supplies and the Capital at one and the same time. His line 
conformed somewhat to the shape of the Chickahominy, nearly 


the shape of a half moon. As soon as he fortified his position he 
threw two corps across the river on his right and on the Richmond 
side and went to fortifying and entrenching. On the 31st of May 
General Johnston attacked them and fought the battle of Seven 
Pines, which was pretty nearly a drawn battle. There were many 
casualties on each side. General Johnston late in the afternoon 
was severely wounded and borne from the field. General G. W 
Smith was the next general in rank, and he continued the battle 
the next day under the direction of President Davis and General 
Lee, who were on the field. The two corps of Union troops were 
reenforced by a third, but at the close of the fighting on the 
second day the Confederates had the advantage and held a large 
part of the field on their right. About this time McClellan's 
entire force was more than double that of the Confederates, which 
was less than 50,000. In this battle they captured ten pieces of 
artillery, four flags, a large amount of camp equipage and took 
1,000 prisoners, but sustained a greater loss than the Federals by 
charging their entrenched lines to the right. The aggregate 
Confederate loss was, in killed, wounded and captured, 6,784. 
Among the killed was Colonel Tenant Lomax, of the Third 
Alabama, an excellent officer, a man loved and honored by all the 
people of his State, and by those of Montgomery, where he lived, 
was almost idolized. Had he survived that battle he would have 
been made a brigadier-general and doubtless would have won 
great distinction. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Willingham and Major NeSmith, of the 
Sixth Alabama, and many other brave Alabamians were killed. 
Tom Bell and his company of the Sixth Regiment were two-thirds 
killed. The loss of the Federal army aggregated 5,739- General 
Smith was ill and unable to command the army another day. 

On June 2, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee, under an order issued on 
the preceding night, took command of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, and never relinquished it for a single day until he sur- 
rendered at Appomattox Court House, Va., April 9, 1865. 

The day he assumed command he withdrew the troops from the 
trenches they had captured to their former line of defense. This 
two-days' battle so rebuked McClellan's aggressiveness that he 
was quiet for several days, and then advanced his right again 
beyond Mechanicsville and to Meadow Bridge within six or seven 
miles of Richmond. In the meantime Lee had the temerity to 
send Generals Whiting and Lawton, with three brigades, by rail 


to reenforce Jackson in the Valley. It was audacious, and a 
terrible risk to take in the face of an aggressive foe more than 
double his numbers. Lee's purpose was two-fold — to clear the 
Valley of Union troops and to threaten Washington, and as soon 
as this could be done for Jackson with his whole corps to join him 
for the relief of Richmond. When these reenforcements reached 
Jackson the Union troops, under Shields, Fremont and Banks, 
were hastening toward Washington and McDowell's corps of 
20,000 was moving from Manassas toward the Valley to aid the 
frightened troops there in keeping Jackson out of Washington. 
Jackson did not lose the opportunity by delay, but marched his 
corps rapidly via Charlottesville in the direction of Richmond, and 
his column reached Ashland on the 25th of June. 



Jackson Receives the Order of Battle From Lee — The Fifteenth Alabama 
One of the First Under Fire — Some Casualties — A Private's Graphic 
Description of Cold Harbor — The Last Engagement of Colonel Canty 
and Lieutenant-Colonel Treutlin With the Regiment — McClellan Retreats 
Toward Harrison's Landing — Lee's Strategy — General Long on the Delay 
of "Stonewall" Jackson — Longstreet's Severe Strictures on Frazier's 
Farm and Malvern Hill — Opinion of Mr. Davis. 

At Ashland Jackson received from General Lee the order of 
battle. On the morning of the 26th of June he took up the line 
of march for Cold Harbor, by way of the Ashcake Road, 
Whiting's division in the advance. At Tottopotomy Creek the 
column was delayed by the Federal pickets for some time. At 
Hundley's Corner some of the advance regiments had lively skir- 
mishing, and the corps bivouacked for the night at this place. 

About 3 o'clock that afternoon A. P Hill crossed his division 
to the north side of Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge and 
attacked the right flank of the Federal army at Mechanicsville 
under Fitz John Porter, where it was very strongly fortified, and 
after a very sanguinary conflict, drove the Federals from their 
entrenchments and to P>eaver Dam, something over a mile. D. H. 
Hill and Longstreet crossed their divisions at Mechanicsville 
as soon as the bridge could be repaired, and took position in sup- 
port of A. P Hill. 

At dawn the next morning A. P Hill tried to cross Beaver 
Dam, but the enemy was so strongly posted on the left bank that 
he only partially succeeded, until Jackson crossed it higher up, 
which caused them to abandon the crossing in Hill's front. Lee's 
order directed the four commands to sweep down the north side 
of the Chickahominy toward the York River Railroad — threaten- 
ing McClellan's communication with his base of supplies at the 
head of York River, hoping thereby to force him to come out of 
his fortifications and fight on equal terms — Jackson on the left and 
in the advance, Longstreet nearest the river and in the rear. 


Stuart was ordered to keep on Jackson's left and give notice of 
the enemy's movement. Huger, Magruder and McLaws, with 
their divisions, were directed to remain on the southwest side of 
the river and to hold their positions against any assault the enemy 
might make on them, and General Pendleton to employ his corps 
of reserve artillery in support of these divisions so as to resist any 
advance on Richmond. 

On the morning of the 27th Jackson moved on with Ewell in 
the lead. Gen. D. H. Hill moved by Bethesda Church and got 
ahead of Jackson, but kept united with his corps. About noon 
Longstreet and A. P Hill encountered some resistance in the 
neighborhood of New Bridge and Powhite Creek, but brushed it 
away and pressed on until nearly 2 o'clock P M., when Hill 
engaged the enemy near McGee's house and Gaines's farm. Jack- 
son halted and awaited results for a while, but as the firing grew 
heavier every moment, at about 3 o'clock he directed D. H. Hill 
on his left and near old Cold Harbor to attack, and followed it up 
with Ewell next on Hill's right, and all the remainder of the corps 
to the right, so as to connect with and support A. P. Hill. This 
great line of five divisions — twenty-one brigades, about eighty-five 
regiments, and numerous batteries — was moving westward and 
almost directly toward Richmond. Longstreet was still facing 
southward, moving slowly down the river and not yet fully 
engaged, but soon became so and made a grand charge and swept 
the Federals from his front. Jackson's corps and the divisions of 
the two Hills were heavily engaged all that afternoon. 

McClellan's best troops were posted here upon ground affording 
great natural advantages, strengthened by earthworks and abattis 
of the most formidable character. The fighting was terrific and 
bloody, but about sunset the Federals gave way before the fiery 
onsets of the Southerners and fled, leaving the field they had held 
so stubbornly, with many of their dead and wounded, in the hands 
of the Confederates. 

The Fifteenth Alabama was one of the first regiments in Ewell's 
division to receive the enemy's fire. It fought the entire evening, 
and portions of it went with the Fifth Texas Regiment in the final 
charge which won the field just at nightfall. It made a glorious 
record, but at a frightful cost. The evening was very warm and 
some of the guns after having been fired fifty or one hundred times 
would become so heated the men could no longer handle them — 
they would throw them down and pick up others and go on firing. 


Some of our men were overheated and drank great draughts of 
cold water at a spring just at the close of the engagement and 
died from it that night. Two very stout, healthy young men in 
Company (3 — Box and Murphy — died in this way. Capt. Peter 
V Guerry, of Company C, a brave man and a Christian gentle- 
man, was killed at the head of his company. Capt. Lock Weems, 
formerly adjutant, but whom Colonel Canty in April or May had 
appointed captain of Company A, was mortally wounded and 
died a few days after. His death was universally deplored; all 
regarded him as a model officer, a courteous gentleman and ster- 
ling patriot. Capt. George Y Malone, of Company F, another 
of the best officers in the regiment, was shot down while in 
advance of his company discharging his pistol in the very faces 
of the foe, who were but a few paces from him. He was wounded 
severely in the thigh and in one hand and arm, which disabled him 
from rendering further service during the war. The Confederacy 
never lost the services of a truer or braver man. I rejoice that 
he was still living when this was published. Capt. Lee E. Bryan, 
who had succeeded Captain Hill of Company L (killed at Cross 
Keys), was severely wounded in the thigh, which disabled him 
from further service during the war. He resided in the Empire 
of Brazil the last the writer knew of him. Many other good men 
were either killed or wounded. The report shows total losses of 
the regiment in this engagement to have been 34 killed and no 
wounded. The company records published herewith will give 
their names, and to which I refer the reader. 

The following description of the battle of Cold Harbor, or 
Gaines' Mill, was written by William A. McClendon, of Henry 
County, who was at the time a private in Company G, Fifteenth 
Alabama. He is known as "Gus" McClendon. He was promoted 
by the writer, who was the captain of the company, through all 
the grades from fourth corporal to first lieutenant, and was in 
command of the company at the surrender. 

His description, as a private in the ranks, is so real and natural 
that we think the old soldiers who went through just such scenes 
will read it with great interest : 

Jackson's arrival from the Valley to reenforce General Lee was anxiously 
looked for. Gen. A. P. Hill began the attack at Meadow Bridge on the even- 
ing of June 26, 1862. In anticipation of our arrival Hill renewed the attack 
at early dawn on the 27th. As the sun rose over the tree tops the rattle of 
musketry, the booming of cannon, and the shouts and yells of the Confed- 


erates were evidence that hot work was going on and we were steadily ad- 
vancing to decide it. A. P Hill with his strong division, assisted by Long- 
street and D. H. Hill, with their strong divisions, had attacked so furiously, 
that the discovery of Jackson by the Federal commander steadily bearing 
down on his extreme right caused him to hastily abandon his breastworks, 
leaving his tents and a great deal of his camp equipage and commissary 
stores, only to seek and assume a position still stronger. This battle is known 
in history as that of Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam, and was the beginning 
of the seven days' battles around Richmond. Jackson's corps had not yet been 
engaged, but had passed over and through a part of the battle-field two hours 
after the battle had been fought, and there I formed my first impressions of 
the horrors of a battle-field ; but I would not let my mind dwell on these 
things, and went on as gay as a lark, rejoicing at our success and fearing the 
engagement for the day was over and I would not get a chance to shoot. 
After the retreat of the enemy from this place there was a calm, not much 
firing going on except by the advance pickets and an occasional boom of a 
cannon. This new position of the enemy is know in history as Gaines' Mill, 
or Cold Harbor, and was wisely selected as being one of great strength. A 
brave body of troops could not have been driven from it by direct assault un- 
less by overwhelming numbers. About n o'clock, when the brilliant rays of 
the sun were illuminating the field as far to the right as the eye could see, 
long lines of the boys in gray, with the beautiful Southern cross fluttering in 
the breeze and their bright muskets and bayonets glittering in the sun, with 
the gorgeously-dressed field officers mounted on their brilliant chargers, could 
be seen. Upon inquiry by some of the officers they were found to be troops 
of Longstreet and the two Hills making preparations to assault the enemy in 
his last strong position. 

We had been marching slowly all day, bearing steadily to the left in order 
that when we did attack it would be on the extreme left of McClellan's army. 
General Lee had made his headquarters at Hogan's house, and there re- 
mained awaiting the arrival of Jackson. Our line of march led by this house, 
and it was about i o'clock that Jackson came along and reined in his horse. 
The generals saluted each other, shook hands, and then engaged in a few 
minutes' private conversation, when General Lee mounted his horse and with 
his staff rode off to the right. This was our first sight of General Lee. It 
was then known that a terrible ordeal awaited us in front, which we were 
soon to meet. We moved on, crossed a branch, marched up a hill, and halted ; 
here our division formed line of battle, Lawton's brigade of Georgians on our 
right and Taylor's brigade of Louisianians on our left. The front of each 
regiment was covered by a company of skirmishers. Ours was covered by 
Company A, commanded by that gallant and soldierly gentleman, Capt. Lock 
Weems, of Union Springs, Alabama. At the command "forward!" they 
moved in gallant style in search of the enemy. That was the last time I saw 
Captain Weems — he was killed that day. At this particular time of which I 
write the troops of Longstreet, A. P Hill, and D. H. Hill had encountered 
the enemy in his strong position, and the battle on the right was raging with 
great fury. Our company officers seemed to be at their best, repeating the 
orders of gallant Lieut.-Col. John F. Treutlin, who commanded the left wing 
of our regiment on that occasion. "Steady, Fifteenth Alabama !" was often 
shouted by Colonel Canty. Thus we moved steadily forward through shot 
and shell, preceded by our skirmishers, who had not yet found the enemy. 
The firing on the right became nearer and nearer, which indicated that it 
would soon be our time to join in the issue. We marched through a large 
field that had been occupied that morning by the enemy as a camp, which 
they had hastily abandoned, leaving their tents standing and a great many 
other valuables that we could have appropriated to our use, but we had no 
time to stop. The word was "onward !" on every tongue. 


When we arrived at the top of the hill we discovered a house down near 
a branch that we had to cross. The house was directly in front of Company 
K (the company that was on our right). The Colonel, perceiving that we 
were going to become tangled and confused if we tried to break ranks and 
run around it, gave the command : "The three left companies, obstacle by the 
right flank, double quick, march!" The commander of Company K repeated, 
then our captain followed, and Company B on our left followed us. We 
passed the house, when the Colonel commanded, "The three left companies 
into line by the left flank, double quick, march!" While all this was going 
on we were subjected to a severe shelling, the bombs bursting over and 
around us enough to have caused general consternation; but we were quickly 
into line, and passed steadily on. Coming to a sluggish stream in our front 
which we had to cross, our line became somewhat disorganized. Where I, 
with some others, crossed, it was boggy, and I bogged down with one foot 
nearly to my knee, and in trying to extricate myself my shoe-string broke and 
I pulled my foot out of my shoe, leaving it in the mud. General Trimble 
happened to be near on his horse looking at us cross, and, seeing my condi- 
tion, said to me kindly, "Soldier, get your shoe." I did so, and knocked the 
mud and water out of it and put it on. 

The skirmishers were hotly engaged, which was evidence that their main 
line was near at hand and that we would soon attack. While I was detained 
in the mud my company had gotten fifty or sixty yards ahead, but I with 
others ran and overtook it, and took our place in line, not, however, before 
we crossed a broad road that ran nearly at right angles to our line of march. 
When I reached the road I halted for a moment and looked up the hill to my 
left ; there I saw the red-legged Zouaves of the enemy in line. They fired 
several shots down the road at us as we passed. I distinctly heard the bullets 
go hissing by searching for a victim. I raised my musket and sent a ball and 
three buckshot among them, and crossed over, pausing long enough to look at 
Tom Burke, of Company B, who was in the last agonies of death — a Minie- 
ball had hit him in the pit of the stomach, and with each pulsation his life's 
blood would gush from the hole. In his delirium he made an unsuccessful at- 
tempt to stop the hole with his canteen stopper. He was a noble young man, 
with refined qualities. 

After the regiment had crossed the road referred to we began our advance 
up a hill that obscured us from the enemy. I had reloaded my gun and had 
overtaken and resumed my position in the front rank of my company, and 
was ready for what afterwards occurred. Our skirmishers had halted on the 
top of the hill and were fighting a regular line of battle just down the slant 
on the other side. The hill was covered with large oaks with a right smart 
undergrowth, and our march was made slow and cautious. All the while the 
small arms on the right were as a regular roll — you could not distinguish one 
gun from another. The bombshells bursting, their fragments flying in every 
direction, hitting a fellow occasionally, and the solid shot crashing through 
the boughs above our heads, and the commands of officers, all added to the 
excitement and noise of the occasion. While we were slowly advancing up 
the hill, Sam Dickerson was shot in the heart and killed instantly. He was 
a good soldier and resided in Dale County. He was the first man killed in 
Dates s company. About this time a heavy volley of musketry tore loose on 
our left, which indicated that Taylor's Louisianians had found the enemy, 
and it was said that here the "Tigers" were nearly all killed, which caused 
them to disband the battalion. 

h,W^r e t iT a w! d tl?e to P o f u th « hjll we halted, and my company, with the 
balance of the left wing of the Fifteenth Alabama, opened fire upon the 
enemy, who were down the slope on their knees about fifty yards away 
We sent such a shower of buck and ball at them through the bushes and 
smoke that it left many of them hors de combat, and at the same time we re- 


ceived a shower of Minie-balls from them that caused several of my company 
to fall, while others staggered and reeled and went to the rear wounded. 
Those of us that were not hurt set up a yell, fell upon our knees, and loaded 
and fired in that position as fast as we could. Our company officers were 
diligent in their duties, encouraging the men by their example and ordering 
us to aim low that we might not over-shoot and waste our ammunition. There 
was so much smoke that it was only occasionally that we could see the enemy, 
but we knew he was there by the hissing of his bullets and the wounding or 
killing of a man occasionally. We could very distinctly tell when the Yankees 
would receive reenforcements by the increase of their bullets and their cheers, 
but the storm of lead that we were pouring at them prevented them from ad- 
vancing any nearer than their front lines. The yelling of the Confederates 
and the roar of small arms and artillery was so great that I could only tell 
when I had fired my gun by a hard punch (kick) of the breech against my 
shoulder or a jar by the stock against my right cheek bone. I loaded and 
fired so fast that the barrel of my gun became so hot that I thought it dan- 
gerous at one time to pour powder in it, and laid it down, picked up another 
that had been dropped by a wounded man, and used it until mine became 
cooler. While I was loading, firing, and hollering, "Hurrah, boys, give it 
to 'em !" I would look to the right occasionally, and through the smoke would 
catch a glimpse of our colors fluttering in the breeze, when I would feel 
cheerful seeing them maintaining their position. While in this position, load- 
ing and firing, some one in my rear fired off his gun so near the right side of 
my head that for a moment I could not realize what had happened; didn't 
know but what I was wounded, as there was a stinging sensation on the right 
side and the back of my neck so severe that caused me to rub with my hand. 
I was considerably stunned, and the stinging about my neck was caused by 
grains of powder, which were of such force as to penetrate the skin. A great 
many of them have been picked out since the war, and while it has been more 
than forty years since this occurrence, there are several grains plainly visible 
under the skin of my neck today. When I recovered from the shock — which 
lasted only a few minutes — I drew back my gun to strike the fellow who did 
it, with an exclamation that I can't repeat here, but with a hasty apology on 
his part I turned around and commenced loading and firing. We were good 
friends, and bore no malice toward each other. He was a good soldier, and 
has long since crossed the line, and I am one that's left to record the oc- 

As well as I remember, it was about 2 PM. when we opened fire upon 
the enemy, and there we remained firing as fast as we could for two or three 
hours. It was reported to the officers that we were running short of ammu- 
nition, and details were made and sent to the rear for a new supply; but 
after using all we could get from the boxes of the dead and wounded we run 
short before the details returned. I would not shoot away the last round I 
had, but kept my gun loaded for a case of emergency. While in this condi- 
tion, waiting, we lay flat upon the ground, the battle still raging on the right 
and left with great fury, while the bursting bombs and solid shot were 
crashing through the trees tearing the limbs off, and it was necessary some- 
times to dodge out of the way of a falling limb. While waiting for ammuni- 
tion, General Ewell rode up in our rear, with hat in hand, where he was met 
by Lieut. John A. Oates, who informed him of the cause of our inaction. 
Ewell told him to fix bayonets and hold his position until he could send for 
the Texas brigade to reenforce us. We had already fixed bayonets — ammuni- 
tion was the thing most desired at that time, as there was nothing very press- 
ing in our front except two disorganized lines of battle down in the woods 
and a ten-gun battery on a hill about four hundred yards in rear of their line 
of battle that was giving us "Jesse" with their shot and shell. The detail ar- 
rived soon after Ewell left, and we commenced in a hurry to refill our cart- 


ridge-boxes. About the time we got through we looked down the hill in in our 
rear, and there came the Fourth Texas, half bent as if looking for a turkey. 
We greeted them with a cheer, and they responded. They marched up to our 
position and halted, rectified their line, fired one volley down the slant through 
the bushes at the Yankees, when they were ordered to cease firing, reload, 
and fix bayonets. The firing from the Yankees had become slack, which was 
an indication that they were waiting for us or preparing to advance. While 
these things were going on among the Texans, our officers, anticipating an 
order for a general charge, began to rectify our line and be ready. There 
was so much smoke that you could only tell an Alabamian from a Texan by a 
badge or the kind of a gun we carried. They were armed with short Enfield 
rifles with sabre bayonets, and we with smooth-bore muskets. 

All being ready, the command "charge!" was given. We raised a yell and 
dashed down the slant pell-mell, yelling all the time, expecting a hand-to- 
hand encounter when we reached their line where last seen; but instead of a 
hand-to-hand engagement, as we expected, when we reached their line num- 
bers of them lay dead or too badly wounded to be moved. This was the result 
of a two-hour engagement with buck and ball well directed. We were out of 
the smoke then and we could see them fifty to one hundred yards in front, 
scattered and running for dear life. They had lost their organization in their 
retreat, and we lost ours in pursuit. We kept up our yelling and firing, and 
swept grandly on. The path of their retreat was marked by their dead and 
wounded. I don't remember any one of my company to have been killed or 
wounded in this charge. There was no skulking with the officers or men — 
forward was the word from every officer. It seemed that the boys tried to 
see who could yell the loudest ; run, load, and fire the fastest. 

I will relate an incident of this charge that happened with myself and 
Calvin Kirkland, of my company. We happened to be together at one time 
in the charge, both running and yelling, when all at once a gun smoked from 
behind a pine tree about twenty-five yards in front. Both of us saw it, and 
as soon as the gun fired, a Yankee dashed off in a run to escape. We both 
raised our muskets, and having a fair shot at his back, we both fired at the 
same time, when down he came and lay still. Calvin looked at me and asked 
if I fired. I said, "Yes: did you?" He replied, "Yes, and we got him." We 
passed close by him lying on his face, with several holes in the back of his 
blouse. We hurried on, and all at once Calvin stopped, looking at something 
under a clay root. It proved to be a Yankee who had crawled under there 
for protection, and had left his feet exposed. I left Calvin talking to him. 
It was said that Calvin told him to come out, for he knew he was there by his 
feet, and it was with some difficulty that he got him out. He was scared half 
to death, and Calvin told him to go to the rear, which he did. The sun was 
not more than an hour high and the canopy of smoke was so thick that thf 
sun was gloomily red in the heavens. 

The Texans had borne somewhat to the right, and they, with other troops, 
had about this time encountered the fourteen-gun battery of the enemy and 
was making a desperate effort to capture it. The enemy, after a stubborn 
resistance, was driven that evening from every position taken, and this was 
his last stand. It was known by our general officers that if they could be 
driven from that position the victory for that day would be complete. While 
this heavy fighting was going on over the battery, other troops of Jackson's 
corps were sweeping down from the left, driving everything before them, 
while my command was driving a disorganized rabble in the center. About 
sundown the firing slackened, a yell was sent up, and it was known that the 
battery had been captured. Some of the troops that had been advancing on 
the left proved to be Alabamians. If I remember right, they were of Wilcox's 
brigade They were on top of a hill trying to form line. I, with Calvin 
Kirkland and two or three others of my company, got mixed up with them. 


Their field officers were on their horses giving commands, some making 
speeches, and such yelling and tossing of hats I had never heard or seen be- 
fore. I actually thought from the number of dead and wounded that I saw 
that evening that the war was ended, and I was glad I was there and had 
lived to see the end; but that proved to be only a beginning with me. In my 
advance I came across a line of knapsacks that had been abandoned by the 
Yankees, and on my return when I reached them I stopped and opened one in 
search of a shirt. I found what we soldiers called a "biled" shirt, with cuffs 
and collars, which I had no use for, so laid them aside- I also found a re- 
volver and opera glass, which I laid aside, but have always been sorry that 
I didn't keep the glass, for I needed it the next morning to look at Lowe's bal- 
loon. I passed through a part of our battle-ground, picking up two well-filled 
Yankee haversacks. I soon found a part of my command where they had 
gone into camp, and we began to talk of the fight and of those that were 
killed and wounded. I don't remember but two who were killed and four 
wounded. Two of those who were wounded are still living, John H. What- 
ley and C. C. Stone. The killed of our company were Sam Dickerson and 
George Byrd. There might have been others ; I don't remember. I exam- 
ined my haversacks and found them rich with hardtack and bacon, and a 
sack of ground coffee, with a string of dried apples about two feet long in 
each sack. I made my supper of hardtack and bacon. Our camp was in 
hearing of the groans of some of the wounded who had been left lying on the 
battle-field. I was tired and nearly exhausted. It had been so hot that even- 
ing I had sweated so much there was hardly a dry thread in my clothes. I 
had hallowed so much that when I cooled off my throat became so sore that 
I could scarcely swallow ; but tired as I was, I with some others took a light 
and went to some of the wounded who were calling to their comrades for 
help. The first one whom I found was a Louisianian with one thigh broken. 
He was lying on the ground within three feet of a wounded Yankee who was 
shot through the bowels. He was delirious, and would call for water and 
his mother — "O Mother !" I was sorry for him, gave him water, and turned 
him as well as I could on his blanket, and spread his "gum" over him to keep 
off the cold dew. I also fixed the Louisianian as comfortable as I could, 
giving him water, and leaving a plenty with him. 

I was so tired and worn out that I left them alone in the dark and re- 
turned to camp and went to sleep. I was up early the next morning, ready to 
move. Some of the boys were still sitting by the fire, smoking and telling of 
the events of the day, while others were sound asleep. I claim the honor, if 
honor it be, of being the first one of Oates's company to fire a_gun in this en- 
gagement. The gun that I fired at the red-legged Zouaves in the road was, 
in my opinion, the first. 

Well, all of these things happened on the 27th of June, 1862 — more than 
40 years ago. Who will be here 25 years from now to tell of these things? 
I have no idea it will be me. 

This was the last engagement in which Colonel Canty and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Treutlin were present with the regiment. 
The gallantry displayed by the latter on this occasion was the 
subject of remark among the men. Both were absent on sick 
leave until April, 1863, when Canty was appointed a brigadier- 
general and Treutlin resigned. Canty was assigned to a com- 
mand with the Army of Tennessee, but in consequence of poor 
health never made much reputation. His health was bad and he 


ought not to have tried to serve in the army, but he was too patri- 
otic to remain out. He died at Fort Mitchell a few years after 
the war closed. Treutlin became a citizen of South Carolina, was 
domiciled in Washington, D. C, and an employee of Congress 
for several years. 

After a day consumed in burying the dead and caring for the 
wounded, the regiment moved with Jackson's corps down the 
Chickahominy through White Oak Swamp, Savage's Station and 
to Malvern Hill, where, though not actively engaged, it was under 
the terrible fire for several hours of one hundred pieces of artillery 
which McClellan had massed on the hill with the bulk of his army, 
and which wounded several of our men. Gen. D. H. Hill sup- 
posed mistakenly that there was an order for a general advance 
to assault and carry the hill, and he charged the battery with his 
division, but was repulsed with heavy loss. Jackson tried his and 
Hill's artillery on the enemy, but theirs had the advantage in 
number and of position. It was the heaviest cannonading of the 
war, except at Gettysburg. It being night, the display of fire- 
works was grand, but the explosion of the shells among the troops 
in the darkness was very demoralizing. It saved McClellan's 
army from destruction. It reminded one of the perils encountered 
by Cortez when expelled by the Aztecs from the City of Mexico, 
when Alvarado, whom they called "The Child of the Sun," made 
his celebrated leap across one of the chasms in the dyke. Malvern 
Hill was the "Notche Triste" of the war. There were, however, 
but few casualties reported as having occurred in the regiment — 
one killed and three slightly wounded — but the loss of the Con- 
federates was frightful. General Longstreet's estimate was that 
McClellan lost at that battle something less than 2,500, while Lee 
lost at least 5,000 men. 

During the night McClellan abandoned the hill and retreated 
toward Harrison's Landing on the James, where he had the pro- 
tection of his gunboats. On the next morning, July 3, Jackson 
was ordered to pursue with his corps and Holmes's division. On 
that day, while pressing on McClellan's rear, the gunboats sub- 
jected Jackson's troops to the terrible ordeal of withstanding an 
enfilading fire, while their great shells were tearing up trees and 
plowing up the ground. General Winder, commanding the Stone- 
wall brigade, was next to the river. He sent word to Jackson 
that his men were afraid of those big shells thrown by the gun- 
boats and that he had halted. Jackson said, "Tell General 


Winder that I am as much afraid of the shells as his men, but to 
continue his advance." The looks and noise of the shells were 
full of terror, but they did not kill many men. They did little 
harm. Lee kept McClellan's army on the river under the protec- 
tion of the gunboats until the 8th of July, when he ordered Jack- 
son to Richmond, and thus ended the seven-days' fighting and 
McClellan's campaign against the "rebel capital." He was fairly 
defeated, with heavy losses, and his army demoralized. The 
Confederates, while greatly elated, were badly hurt, and had 
sustained heavy losses. 

Lee's strategy in this campaign was perfect and equal to that 
displayed by the greatest generals of the world. It was not only 
faultless, but grand in conception. In tactical execution, how- 
ever, he was not near equal to his strategy. There was a lament- 
able want of knowledge of the topography of the country. No 
guides could be obtained who knew all the roads, streams and 
bridges of the vast extent of ground over which the fighting had 
occurred. There was great confusion on this account. The 
swamps, roads and streams being very numerous, commands 
would take the wrong road, and consequently there was no sup- 
port of the Confederate column of attack at Savage's Station, 
Frazier's Farm and Malvern Hill, and the lack of organization, 
for which Lee was not responsible, as he had been in command of 
the army less than one month, was a disadvantage. When Holmes 
was sent to obstruct that which was supposed to be the only road 
by which McClellan could retreat, he took position on it, and after 
it was too late discovered that there was another road nearer the 
river, along which McClellan had an uninterrupted retreat, and 
that he chose. Holmes was a poor general, utterly lacking in 
enterprise and activity. At Malvern Hill, D. H. Hill was to 
charge when he heard the shouts of Magruder's men when they 
had succeeded in carrying an entrenched line in their front. Hill 
heard a shout, and supposing that it proceeded from Magruder's 
command, when in fact it did not, — and instead of having a staff 
officer there to see, he guessed, — advanced and was repulsed with 
heavy loss. About the time he retired Magruder advanced and 
met a similar fate. To all these miscarriages and blunders, more 
than to his ability, was due the escape of McClellan's army. In 
round numbers McClellan had 100,000 in the campaign; Lee, 
85,000 men. 


The divisions of Longstreet and A. P Hill, unsupported, fought 
the battle of Frazier's Farm on June 30th. Lee ordered the attack 
in the full expectation of the participation of Huger's division and 
Jackson's corps. Huger was delayed by encountering obstruc- 
tions of his road — the felling of trees by the retreating foe. Jack- 
son found an important bridge across the unfordable stream of 
White Oak destroyed, and a force — Franklin's division — defend- 
ing the passage, which caused delay in driving the enemy and 
rebuilding the bridge. Longstreet in his book charges Jackson 
with undue slothfulness and says that he could have turned the 
obstruction by a march of four miles around it and have arrived 
in time to have completely overthrown the enemy, and to illustrate 
it says that General Wright's brigade of Huger's division took 
that route and marched it leisurely, halting several times on the 

General Long in his "Memoirs of Lee" (p. 175) says: 

The delay on the part of General Jackson was very unusual. The explana- 
tion of his delay on this occasion was that, being greatly exhausted by long 
marches and battles for more than a week, he sought a short repose. His 
staff, out of mistaken regard for their general, permitted him to sleep far 
beyond the time he allowed himself. When he awoke he was greatly cha- 
grined at the loss of time that had occurred, the damage of which he was 
unable to repair. 

It was believed by many very competent judges that if Jackson 
and Huger had arrived on time, or near it, that two corps of 
McClellan's army would have been completely destroyed or cap- 
tured. President Davis, who was on the field, believed it. This 
would inevitably have caused the capture or overthrow of the bulk 
of the Federal army. For once the ever-alert, resistless, vigilant 
and active Stonewall Jackson, overcome by fatigue, was seduced 
by "tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," and lost the oppor- 
tunity of destroying the great Army of the Potomac. Troops 
never fought more gallantly than did those of Longstreet and 
A. P Hill. Many casualties occurred on both sides, but the Con- 
federates held the field, and during the night the Union troops 

General Longstreet says in his book, "From Manassas to Appo- 
mattox :" 

Frazier's Farm was a halting failure of a combination of forces ; and Mal- 
vern Hill an accident resulting from the armies standing close abreast many 
hours. Malvern Hill left out, the two armies would have mingled their lines 
between that and Westover during the 3rd and 4th of July. 


The first sentence in the above quotation is a censure of Generals 
Jackson and Huger for their slothfulness in failing to arrive at 
Frazier's Farm during the battle and thus losing the opportunity 
of destroying the enemy and winning a great victory. And what 
he says of Malvern Hill is a censure of both Jackson and Lee for 
the delay in attacking until late in the evening, and probably for 
attacking at all, in that position. It was a hard-fought battle. 
There was a lack of concert of action of the divisions in the attack. 
One would advance and be repulsed before another got fairly in 
action. The position of the Federals was a strong one on elevated 
ground, and well chosen for defense, with one hundred cannon 
so arranged that an assault upon them was a terrible undertaking. 
The Confederates had only twenty pieces in available positions. 
They could not cope with five-fold their number. Major-General 
Fitz John Porter, a corps commander, was in immediate command. 
His second, General McCall, was captured by Longstreet's troops. 
But Porter repulsed the Confederates at every point, and that 
night retreated, leaving his dead and wounded. 

The second sentence in the above quotation evidently means 
that the Confederates were badly worsted. That "Malvern Hill 
left out, the two armies would have mingled their lines between 
that [place] and Westover during the 3d and 4th of July," mean- 
ing that the Confederates would probably have overcome and 
destroyed the Federal army. He then speaks of McClellan's 
masterly retreat and his ability to cross swords with his able 
adversary. Though his statement of facts may be substantially 
correct, General Longstreet shows that while he was skilled in 
the science of war, he was equally expert in slinging mud so as to 
bespatter all about him, but leaving his own regimentals spotless. 
He also says before Malvern Hill was reached, "If Jackson could 
[implying tardiness] have joined against the right of Sumner 
with his brigades, the latter could have been dislodged, the Con- 
federates passing the swamp with him, which would have marked 
the beginning of the end. The occasion was especially propitious." 

General Longstreet says that the total losses of the Federal army 
was but 15,249, and the Confederate loss was greater, from 18,000 
to 19,000. That the casualties on each side were equal until the 
battle of Malvern Hill, at which the Confederates lost about 5,000 
and the Federals only about one-third that number 


He says (p. 151) : 

The great Napoleon would have captured Richmond after the disaster at 
Malvern Hill with his regular organized army of veterans. 

General Lee thought that he would capture McClellan's army, but some 
of his leaders were working at cross-purposes and did not have that close 
attention that the times called for. 

Why was he not more specific? Why did he not give the 
names of those faithless leaders? If he intended to state only 
the truth, as every writer of history should, he would have speci- 
fied the traitorous leaders who were working at cross-purposes. 
We do not believe his statement. He and Jackson were both 
major-generals then, he being the senior, but he commanded only 
a division while Jackson commanded a corps. In his book he 
seems disposed to damn Jackson with faint praise, but at the time 
it must be admitted he did not allow his jealousy to influence his 
military conduct, for he handled his men with ability and fought 

General Dick Taylor in his very interesting book says of the 
seven days' fighting around Richmond : 

General Lee was without maps or efficient guides, and was himself and 
staff unacquainted with the topography of his field of operations, which ma- 
terially resulted in blunders on the part of subordinate commanders. 

Mr Davis, in Vol. II, chapter 24, pp. 144, 145, of "History of 
the Rise and Fall of the Confederacy," practically reiterates and 
enlarges on the same line as Taylor. 

General Long, in his "Memoirs," pp. 179, 180, denies these 
statements, and says that General Lee had maps of the seat of 
war, and for any deficiency or inaccuracy in them the War 
Department in Richmond was responsible. He says : 

The statement in regard to Lee's want of knowledge of the topography of 
his field of operations and the inferiority of his guides is incorrect. The blund- 
ers complained of were more the result of inattention to orders and want of 
proper energy on the part of a few subordinate commanders, than of lack of 
knowledge of the country, that Lee allowed McClellan's army to escape 

Mr. Davis, in Vol. II, p. 152, of the "Rise and Fall of the 
Confederacy," says : 

Under ordinary circumstances the army of the enemy should have been 
destroyed. Its escape was due to the cause already stated. Prominent among 


these was the want of correct information. This fact, together with the char- 
acter of the country, enabled General McClellan skilfully to conceal his re- 
treat and to add much to the obstructions with which nature had beset the 
way of our pursuing columns. 

"Prominent among the causes," says Mr. Davis, "was the want 
of correct information." If, as General Long states, Lee had 
correct maps, good guides and was himself familiar with the 
country, why was it that he found it necessary to go in person to 
explore the lay of the land before he knew how and where to 
place Holmes's division? How was it that General Lee was not 
aware of the existence of the road which McClellan took in 
effecting his retreat from Malvern Hill if he were perfectly 
familiar with the country, as General Long asserts? There is 
some truth, no doubt, in all the statements made of the reasons 
why Lee lost his opportunity to capture or destroy the Federal 
army There can be no question that neither Lee nor any of his 
subordinate commanders were perfectly familiar with the country, 
nor can it be said that the guides were all well informed and 
intelligent. But the greatest trouble after all was that Lee did 
not have men enough. If he had had 20,000 more men — equal 
to McClellan in numbers — no doubt he would have destroyed the 
Federal army. His achievements, considering the disparity in 
numbers, were wonderful and stamped Lee as a very great 

Mr. Davis says that Lee's army took more than 10,000 pris- 
oners, including officers of high rank, 52 pieces of artillery, and 
upwards of 35,000 stand of small arms, stores and supplies of 
every description, great in amount and value, but small in amount 
compared with those destroyed by the Federal army itself. Mr. 
Davis estimates the losses in men of that army as greater than 
in that of the Confederate. In this he was probably mistaken. 
It was, however, currently reported that when McClellan reached 
the gunboats and had enjoyed a good night's rest, he said that 
they were such comfortable things that he thought "there ought 
to be a gunboat in every family." 



A New Federal Army — General Pope in Command — The Battle of Cedar 
Run, or Slaughter's Mountain — The "Little Napoleon" — Jackson's Shrewd 

On the 27th day of June, while the battles of Cold Harbor and 
Gaines's Mill were progressing, President Lincoln published an 
order creating the "Army of Virginia," to consist of the forces 
under Fremont in the Mountain department , of Banks in the 
Shenandoah Valley department, and of McDowell on the Rappa- 
hannock, which, had the latter been within supporting distance of 
McClellan, cut off all hope of aid to him from that quarter. 
Major-General John Pope was assigned to the command of this 
new army. 

On the 13th of July the regiment, under the command of Major 
Lowther, marched with Jackson's corps, now consisting of his 
division under Taliaferro, Ewell's and A. P Hill's, to Gordons- 
ville, where he remained in observation during the remainder of 
that month and the first days of August. Gen. John Pope's army 
was concentrating on the Rappahannock and at Culpeper Court 
House. Under his orders the soldiery were pillaging, laying 
waste, and committing the most unheard-of outrages upon the 
people of the country through which he advanced. In one of his 
orders he boasted that his headquarters were in the saddle and 
that the only sight he ever had of the rebels was their backs. 
Jackson moved on the 7th and 8th down toward Culpeper, and 
turning to the left on the 9th of August at the northern foot of 
Slaughter's Mountain, and on the west side of Cedar Run, 
met the right wing of Pope's army under General Banks. The 
Fifteenth was detached from its brigade and sent to follow 
Latimer's battery along the crest of the mountain and to support 
it if necessary. I was, with my company, ordered to precede the 
regiment and to keep close to Latimer's guns, which I did. 
Having at one time left my company just over a high point to 


protect the men, I went forward about one hundred yards in the 
woods, where I could overlook the beautiful valley below and see 
the effects of Latimer's fire on the Federals, who were down in the 
valley. One of our guns opened the ball, and as the shell went 
fluttering and screeching through the air far overhead, I heard 
a scream like the voice of a woman. A Yankee battery replied 
to our gun and the shells made a hideous noise as they passed 
overhead. Just then several ladies, whose appearance indicated 
culture and refinement, came toward me up the mountain and 
appealed to me for assistance. They lived in the valley which 
was now about to become a battle-field. They were frightened 
so much they scarcely knew where they were. I directed them 
to cross the ridge and go to one of the farm houses beyond, where 
they would be perfectly safe. They told me that one of their 
number had fainted and they had left her with a negro girl in the 
woods below. I went down the mountain a short distance and 
found her. She was a young lady, and as perfect a beauty as 
was ever reared on the soil of the Old Dominion. She was pale 
and scarcely able to walk. I assured her that there was no 
immediate danger and assisted her over the crest and made the 
girl wait for her. My company then required my attention and 
1 left the young lady and never saw her again. The family 
referred to were Mrs. Crittenden and her daughters. While the 
artillery duel was progressing our lines advanced and so did the 
enemy, and I witnessed the shock from the mountain top. It was 
a grand sight. Latimer's battery now moved around and took 
position in the front yard of Slaughter's house and opened with 
his four Napoleon twelve-pounders a plunging flank fire upon the 
enemy. The battle was now raging furiously. The Fifteenth 
advanced under the fire of Latimer's guns to and beyond the foot 
of the mountain. Latimer, a Virginia boy, in his eighteenth 
year, sat his horse in the midst of the volcano of smoke and 
bursting shells, advancing his guns in echelon down the moun- 
tain, his clear, boyish voice ringing out, "Ready, aim, fire !" while 
the roar of his guns was deafening and the bursting shells of the 
enemy plowed up the ground around him and filled the air with 
sulphurous smoke. This beardless boy, whom General Early 
called his "Little Napoleon," was killed at Gettysburg the next 
year, he being a major of artillery commanding sixteen pieces, 
and not then nineteen years old. Major Lowther halted the 
Fifteenth at the head of a branch for a short time. While here 


a shell exploded within a few feet of my face, but I received no 
injury except that a few grains of the powder stuck in my face. 
A solid shot struck a man in Company F (I am unable to give his 
name) and only some few fragments of him were ever found. 
He had a pair of pants rolled up, which he carried under his arm, 
and they were carried away and could not be found. The regi- 
ment then made a rapid advance to capture a battery, but the 
enemy succeeded in getting it across the bridge before we could 
reach it. It was now deep dusk and the enemy was all across 
Cedar Run in full retreat, our troops crossing after them and 
several of our batteries firing upon them. The Fifteenth crossed 
the bridge and advanced to the foot of the hill, where a Louisiana 
brigade was found blocking up the road ahead of us. Jackson's 
vanguard was soon fired upon and halted, where we remained 
until about midnight, and then were counter-marched, recrossed 
the Run, and slept upon the battle-field. The most serious loss 
to the Confederates was that of General Winder, commander of 
the Stonewall brigade, who was a most excellent officer. He was 
killed early in the action. 

The next morning the major portion of Jackson's corps was 
found in line on and around the base of the mountain, where he 
awaited the advance of the enemy all day, keeping Stewart's 
cavalry well to the front. Details were busy burying the dead 
and removing the wounded. On the morning of the nth a flag 
of truce came for permission to bury the dead, which was granted. 
It took a long time to accomplish it, as they lay thick upon the 
field. At five o'clock they had not finished, and requested further 
time, which was accorded them. So ended the battle of Cedar 
Run, or Slaughter's Mountain. That night, Jackson having 
learned that Pope's whole army was moving to attack him, had 
extensive camp fires built to deceive the enemy, and then marched 
off, and next morning was many miles away on his return to 
Gordonsville. The official report of General Trimble shows the 
casualties in the regiment to have been one killed and seven 
wounded in this engagement. 



Advance of Lee's Army on Pope — Battle of Hazel River — Jackson Turns 
Pope's Right Flank and Reaches His Rear — Bristow Station and the 
Junction — Second Battle of Manassas, or Bull Run — Taylor's Description 
of Ewell — Isaac R. Trimble — The Fitz John Porter Case. 

After the battle of Cedar Run, Jackson's corps remained in 
their camp at Gordonsville for a few days. Ewell's division 
moved down the south side of the Rapidan to and in the neigh- 
borhood of Porter's and Morton's fords. The army under Pope 
began to concentrate about Culpeper Court House and Stevens- 
burg, when a part of Longstreet's corps arrived from Richmond, 
and on the 20th of August Lee, who was now present with both 
corps of his army, crossed the Rapidan and advanced on Pope, 
who retreated rapidly and in considerable confusion across the 
Rappahannock, and thus the braggart who had "never seen the 
rebels except their backs" was exhibiting to the rebels that inter- 
esting part of his own anatomy. Just beyond Stevensburg two 
Virginia soldiers, who had deserted to the Yankees and entered 
the service on that side, were recognized and fully identified 
among the prisoners captured by General Stewart's cavalry. 
General Jackson ordered them hanged to the limb of a tree by 
the roadside, which was done, and there left hanging until the 
army had passed, or rather that portion of it which passed along 
that road. Behind the Rappahannock Pope made a stand and 
deployed his artillery so as to cover every ford and point of that 
stream where a crossing might possibly be effected. 

While the artillery duel of the 20th was progressing I was sent 
with my company to support a section of Courtney's battery, 
some half a mile down the river. I formed my company just in 
rear of the guns, and a fragment of the very first shell thrown by 
the enemy wounded me in my left arm and tore my coat sleeve 
considerably. The blood ran down my arm pretty freely for a 
short time, but as the injury was slight I did not retire from the 


field or lose any time from the service on account of it, and men- 
tion it only as one of many of the little incidents in the history of 
the regiment. No further damage was done, except the wound- 
ing of an artilleryman ; and when the firing was over I returned 
to the regiment with my company. That night it rained heavily 
and continuously nearly all night. I have no recollection of any 
considerable battle having been fought, but that it was almost 
immediately followed by copious rains. The superstitious have 
said that it was the intervention of Providence to wash from the 
earth the human gore, etc., but I don't think that the blood of 
man is held in such high esteem by the Great Creator of all things 
as to cause Him to interfere with the uniform and perfect opera- 
tion of His laws for any such purpose. I prefer to attribute the 
rain to natural and philosophical causes, and am quite certain 
that the loud noise — the heavy shocks of the atmosphere produced 
by the artillery firing — causes the rain. If not too expensive, 
when the farmers' crops are suffering from drought, it might be 
well to fire big guns in the neighborhood to bring the rain. I had 
rather risk it than a prayer-meeting. The United States Govern- 
ment has tried it and it does bring the rain, but it is too expensive 
for practical purposes. 

Jackson continued moving up the river, seeking a crossing, 
with Longstreet occupying each position as soon as vacated by 
Jackson. At Warrenton Springs Ford he attempted to cross, 
and succeeded in getting two brigades over, but a heavy rain 
delayed the work until the river was swollen so that the artillery 
could not be crossed, and by morning it could not be forded by 
the infantry. 

The enemy had discovered the situation and moved rapidly up 
the river, but by skilful and rapid work a sort of rude bridge was 
improvised, over which the brigades were withdrawn just as the 
enemy was advancing to crush or capture them. Another artil- 
lery duel ensued between A. P Hill's batteries and the enemy's 
across the river. 

The bulk of Pope's army was now concentrating between the 
river at this point and Warrenton Springs. Stuart, with a part 
of Fitz Lee's cavalry brigade, crossed the Rappahannock under 
orders from General Lee, and passed to Pope's rear for the pur- 
pose of breaking and disabling for use the Alexandria Railroad, 
upon which Pope depended for transportation of supplies and 
reenforcements. Stuart made his raid successful in everything 


except crippling the road. He captured three hundred prisoners 
and came near taking General Pope himself. The braggart did 
not look for the backs of the rebels that night, but fled from his 
headquarters in his night clothes. Stuart captured his papers 
and his coat and brought them to Lee, by which he learned the 
number of men Pope had and the reenforcements he was 

Jackson moved on up the Rappahannock, and on the 22d, after 
crossing Hazel River near its junction with the former, Trimble's 
and Hood's brigades had a spirited engagement with a consider- 
able body of the enemy, who had crossed over the Rappahannock 
to capture our wagon-train, which Trimble was guarding. They 
were driven back with severe loss, some being drowned while 
recrossing or shot while in the water. The casualties in the 
regiment were but few. Major Lowther was in command, and 
if he ever made any report I never saw it. General Alexander's 
roster says the loss of the regiment was four killed, thirteen 
wounded and one missing. I doubt there having been so many, 
but it may have been correct. I recall several casualties in that 
engagement. I was then a captain in command of my company. 

On the 23d and 24th Jackson was still moving by his left flank 
northward up the river to find an uninterrupted crossing beyond 
Pope's observation, while Longstreet amused him in the rear. 
On the morning of the 25th we crossed on a very inferior little 
bridge, the stream at this point being small and narrow; the 
crossing was at Henson's Mill, four miles above Waterloo. We 
passed through the village of Orleans and bivouacked near Salem 
that night after a long and very fatiguing march. Early the 
next morning Jackson, with his usual vigor and celerity of move- 
ment, had us agoing. We passed through Bull Run Mountains 
at Thoroughfare Gap, through which the railroad from Manassas 
Junction to Front Royal pass. We then marched via the village 
of Gainesville and reached the Alexandria Railroad at Bristow 
Station after sunset. At Gainesville, Stuart, with the brigades 
of Robertson and Fitz Lee, joined Jackson and continued with 
him to the battle which ensued a few days later. We were now 
completely in Pope's rear and between his army and Washington. 
We had marched nearly sixty miles in two days, and subsisted 
mainly on green corn and half ripe apples hastily gathered from 
the fields and orchards we passed on the march. Taylor's 
brigade was in the advance, Trimble's next. The former was 


formed in line along the railroad west of the hotel and the latter 
east of it. A number of Yankee officers were just sitting down 
to an excellent supper at the hotel when they were captured, and 
Jackson and his staff, very unwelcome and unexpected guests, 
took supper with them. Trains which had been run over on the 
Rappahannock carrying reenforcements to Pope, were now heard 
returning, but of course the Confederates could not know that 
they were empty. A cross-tie was thrown across the track on an 
embankment for the purpose of throwing the train from the track, 
but to the surprise of the Confederates, the cow-catcher threw off 
the obstruction and the train escaped and made its way to Wash- 
ington, but with several bullet holes in it. Another obstruction 
was arranged, and four field guns were shotted and placed in 
position to knock the next train from the track if the obstruction 
failed. Then came three long trains in close proximity to each 
other. The engine of the first struck the obstruction, leaped into 
the air and then tumbled down the embankment amidst the roar 
of musketry, for both brigades fired on it. The engine of the 
second plowed through the cars of the first train, throwing them 
high in the air, and overturning them, until it was itself over- 
turned and went crashing down the embankment. The engine of 
the third came plowing and crashing along like its predecessor, 
until it could go no farther, and stopped on the track. The 
engineer was captured by some of the Fifteenth Alabama men, 
and also two or three other prisoners, one of whom proved to be 
a civilian who had been on a visit to the army. One of his legs 
was broken just above the ankle. He was laid upon the ground 
near a fire. He inquired who we were, and when informed he 
expressed a desire to see Stonewall Jackson. I pointed out Jack- 
son to him, who just then stood on the opposite side of the fire 
closely engaged in interrogating the engineer. He requested to 
be raised, which was done. He surveyed the great Confederate 
general in his dingy gray uniform, with his cap pulled down on 
his nose, for half a minute, and then in a tone of disappointment 
and disgust exclaimed, "O my God ! Lay me down !" Immedi- 
ately after the trains were wrecked, General Trimble ordered the 
Fifteenth to remove the debris so as to save the locomotive and 
cars still on the track, and marched on with the remainder of his 
brigade to capture Manassas Junction, which was seven miles 
farther east. Major Lowther had been left behind, reported on 
the sick list, and Capt. Isaac B. Feagin was in command of the 


regiment and I was his assistant. We made every effort with 
the means we had, and soon found that the whole regiment could 
not remove the wreck without tools and proper implements to 
work with. The question then was, What should we do ? Finally 
I went to General Jackson and represented to him the impractica- 
bility of the undertaking. He walked with me down to the wreck 
and examined it. After his interview with the engineer he then 
said to Feagin, "Well, Captain, just set fire to it and rejoin your 
brigade, which has gone to capture the Junction." It was then 
after nine o'clock and we had marched thirty miles that day, but 
we did as we were ordered, set fire to the wreck and marched for 
the Junction. By the light of that fire we could and did see how 
to march for over a mile. 

When we reached Manassas Junction, Trimble had just cap- 
tured the place. It was after one o'clock. The Federal pickets 
fired a shot or two and ran in. Trimble advanced in line of 
battle in the darkness. Eight pieces of artillery were discharged 
from where they were parked, killing and wounding thirteen men 
in the Twenty-first Georgia regiment. Trimble's line then 
charged and carried the place without further loss. A vast 
quantity of stores were captured. Numbers of sutlers had stores 
in the place, and these were rifled of their contents. A sort of 
negro camp-meeting was going on here, and some of the soldiers 
got into the shanties containing the colored women's wardrobes. 
Many of the soldiers were bareheaded, or so near it that they 
wore brimless hats, and all such supplied themselves with 
women's hats and tied them on with the long red ribbons and 
trimmings attached. They had marched in the dust and perspired 
until their clothing had splotches of a glossy appearance almost 
like enameled leather. Then when one-fourth of them were 
decorated with negro women's hats their appearance was ludic- 
rous, but when these half-starved men sang songs of merriment 
and danced around their camp fires at two o'clock at night, eating 
lobster salad and drinking rhine wine, the scene was ludicrous in 
the extreme, and impressed one with the belief that such men 
could never be whipped upon any fair field ; and they never were 
while Jackson lived, no matter what odds were against them. 
To kill them was the only way to conquer them. 

On the morning of the 27th of August, the train which escaped 
at Bristow the previous night having carried the intelligence to 
Washington that some sort of a raid was being made on Pope's 


communications and the railroad, they supposed it to be only a 
body of Confederate cavalry, and despatched a train with General 
Taylor and his New Jersey brigade to meet the raiders. That 
any Confederate general with a corps of infantry would or could 
pass entirely around Pope's grand army and appear in his rear 
was not once thought of at Washington. Yet it was a fact that 
Jackson was there in the rear of Pope, some thirty-five miles 
distant from Longstreet and Lee with the remainder of the army, 
thus placing Pope between the two with an army as great in 
numbers as all of Lee's forces united. Had Pope been an able, 
enterprising general, like Hoche or Napoleon, or like Jackson or 
Lee, he would have beaten the Confederates in detail; he would 
have taken Jackson before Longstreet' s corps could have arrived — 
but he was only a common-place general, a braggart and a failure, 
like Lachelle, whose only order was to "march majestically and 
en masse." 

Taylor's brigade left the cars at Bull Run and came marching 
up in line of battle north of the railroad and nearly at right angles 
to it. Trimble's brigade lay upon the ground near the crest of 
a ridge just in front of one of the old forts, ready to receive the 
New Jersey men when they approached near enough, but the men 
could not be restrained until they got fairly within range. Taylor 
brought up his brigade in splendid style. The temptation was 
too great for Stuart, who had the guns of his horse artillery in 
two of the forts, and he opened fire upon them. He sat on his 
horse near the guns watching the effect of each shot and as nearly 
every shell exploded right in their ranks, he clapped his hands 
and shouted with laughter, crying out, "Good, good! give them 
another !" At last a shell, or fragment of one, knocked General 
Taylor from his horse, killing him instantly and his brigade broke 
in retreat. Stuart shouted and clapped his hands together several 
times in an ecstasy of delight, but unfortunately he had no cavalry 
present, or he could have captured every man of them. Trimble 
put us on the run in pursuit, which was continued to Centerville, 
a distance of seven miles. But infantry cannot pursue infantry 
to any great advantage in the absence of cavalry That evening 
Trimble marched his brigade back to the Junction. The next 
morning A. P Hill's old division and two brigades of Ewell's, 
under General Early, marched for Centerville. Jackson's division 
marched directly to Manassas Plains. There was a pile of bacon 
as large as a small house, cut into pieces of convenient size, with 


hundreds of boxes of hard bread opened and sitting near, and as 
each regiment marched by on leaving the Junction it was halted 
for two or three minutes and every man was allowed to help 
himself to all he could carry. What was left was to be burned 
when all were supplied. The men remembered how they had 
suffered for rations on the last march, and some largely over- 
stocked and overloaded themselves. After marching a mile or 
two the roadside was strewn with large boxes full or half full of 
crackers and pieces of bacon. But still every man's haversack 
was stuffed full of rations, which was indeed fortunate, as by 
this means we all had plenty of Yankee rations to last until after 
the protracted engagements which ensued. We crossed Bull Run 
at Blackburn's Ford, where the little engagement of the 18th of 
July, 1 86 1, was fought, and were soon tramping over the hills 
of Centerville. We were then turned westward and recrossed 
Bull Run at the stone bridge, and that evening reached our place 
in the line of battle which was formed with Jackson's old division, 
Brigadier-General Taliaferro commanding, on the right and 
along in the edge of the woods in the rear of Groveton ; Ewell in 
the center and A. P Hill on the left, making the line about one 
mile and a half long. Hill's left reached to Sudley's Ford on 
Bull Run. The line was protected a good part of the distance by 
an old unfinished railroad embankment. About the time of our 
arrival, Ewell, after having met and resisted for some time at 
Bristow Station the corps of Hooker and Reno, arrived with his 
other two brigades, having marched across the plain the shorter 
route to our present position. Late in the evening of this day, 
the 28th of August, as the sun was disappearing behind the west- 
ern hills, I could hear the heavy thunders of distant cannonading. 
Where and what was it? It was Longstreet forcing his way 
through Thoroughfare Gap, which was held and strongly defend- 
ed by the rear of Pope's army under General Ricketts. But Lee 
and Longstreet knew the perilous position of Jackson, and by 
heavy pounding and their men's gallantry in scaling that rugged 
mountain and thus turning the enemy's flank, they drove through, 
as an immense battering-ram by repeated and heavy blows will 
drive through a stone wall. Just then the head of Pope's army 
came marching down the pike by Groveton in the direction of 
Washington. The road was blue with them for miles, marching 
four abreast, as though they were unconscious of danger. The 
Confederates were concealed in the woods. I saw a great dust 


rising on our right and rear, which alarmed me, for I thought it 
was the enemy. Jackson and Ewell sat their horses alone a few 
steps in the old field just in our front. A horseman came through 
the thicket in our rear as fast as he could and inquired for General 
Jackson. I pointed to him ; he rode up, gave the military salute, 
and said, "General Jackson, General Stuart requested me to give 
you his compliments and to tell you that he is in position on your 
right and rear." Jackson replied, "Return my thanks to General 
Stuart." The officer left as he had approached, with a polite 
salute. The head of the Federal column had now passed Grove- 
ton and was half way to the Henry House on the identical ground 
held by the Confederates at the first battle of Manassas, and the 
Confederates now occupied the ground held by the Federals then. 
Jackson raised his hand and pointed, and in his quick manner 
said, "Ewell, advance !" and darted off to the right like an eagle 
swooping from his lofty mountain peak downward upon his un- 
suspecting victim in the valley below. In a moment the old 
Stonewall division emerged from its hiding place, and with an 
alignment as perfect as at dress parade, it moved with steady step 
forward. Ewell came forth with Hays, Early and Lawton's 
brigades in equally splendid style on the left of Trimble, who was 
ordered to hold his command in reserve. The enemy halted, 
faced to the Confederates and came to meet them. I stood at the 
edge of the woods and saw more than ten thousand men between 
sunset and dark march up facing each other in the open field and 
engage in deadly conflict. Within one minute all was enveloped 
in smoke and a sheet of fire seemed to go out from each side to 
the other along the whole length of the lines, with the Confederate 
right steadily swinging forward and turning on the center as its 
pivot. Just after dark Captain McKim, a gallant Marylander, 
brought an order from Ewell to Trimble to advance, that the 
enemy had made a breach in the line between his right and Talia- 
ferro's left. Trimble gave the loudest command I ever heard, to 
"Forward, guide center, march !" I could hear the echo in Bull 
Run Swamp for miles. There was a little copse of woods of 
about two acres in our front and it was through this that a 
brigade of Yankees had penetrated. We received their fire as we 
approached it. Our brigade, without orders, fell on the ground 
and opened a rapid fire in return. The enemy fell back to a fence 
on the opposite side of the woods and Trimble pressed to and 
drove them from the fence. They took position in a gulley which 


had washed out down the hillside parallel to and about twenty 
steps from the fence. About this time Trimble was shot through 
the leg near the knee and borne from the field. His brigade 
gained the fence and lay down behind it. The enemy in front 
of the Fifteenth were armed with Belgian muskets and used 
explosive balls and when one would strike a tree or the fence it 
would explode with as loud a report as a pistol fired. When 
they struck a bone they exploded, lacerating the flesh frightfully. 
A false report reached the right of the brigade that our friends 
were in front and that we were firing on them. Captain Feagin 
received it from some one supposed to be in authority and he 
would give the command "Cease firing, our friends are in front !" 
I would repeat the order because Feagin was in command and it 
was my duty to obey, but as I was confident that they were 
Yankees and that we did not have any friends in our front, as, soon 
as the order to cease firing was given I would say, "Fire on, men, 
they are Yankees !" and the firing would commence and extend 
along the line until the order "Cease firing, our friends are in 
front !" would come down the line again, and thus were we in a 
see-saw for more than forty minutes, while receiving at short range 
a very destructive fire. The carnage in our ranks was appalling. 
Some of the men on the left of the regiment believed so surely 
that our friends were in front that they refused to fire when I 
ordered them. I knew that the people in our front were enemies 
by a simple process of reasoning. If they were friends they were 
firing in the wrong direction, and there was scarcely a possibility 
of their getting into position to do that unless they about-faced 
and fired to the rear, which of course only crazy men would have 
done. If they were friends and firing the other way we could 
have seen the men between their fire and us ; again, if the number 
of balls which reached us came through their ranks with our fire 
in their rear, they would have been cut down at once. No men 
on earth could withstand for any length of time such a tornado 
of bullets, front and rear, at short range and without protection 
of any sort ; again, I knew that if they were friends that wounded 
men would have been passing constantly through our ranks to the 
rear, and none came. At last those in our front fled, and as they 
ran off set up their regular "Huzzah ! Huzzah !" Lieutenant 
Brainard got over the fence and struck a match, and in and about 
the gulley, fifteen or twenty steps from us, lay many dead and 
wounded Yankees, but no Confederates. Some say, and I believe 


that Captain Feagin was afterwards of the opinion, that one of 
the Yankees in the darkness ran into our lines somewhere to our 
right and started the report that our friends were in front. I 
have no doubt that was the origin of it. Many good men believed 
the report that night and refused to fire. During the heaviest 
part of the engagement everything around was lighted up by the 
blaze of the musketry and explosion of balls like a continuous 
bright flash of lightning. I discovered two men several steps in 
rear of our line lying as close to the ground on their faces as 
ever a frightened squirrel lay upon the branch of a tree. They 
did not move until I used the flat side of my sword very freely 
upon their backs. We were not all of us as brave as Caesar, nor 
were men, with but few exceptions, at all times alike brave. Much 
depends upon the state of the nervous system at the time. I 
knew one, in the first battle he was in, to run for five miles before 
he could halt, and afterwards that same man became one of the 
bravest and best soldiers in the regiment. The two referred to 
were men who would fight in personal combat, but that night it 
was too sublime for their courage. I saw a man in Company G 
standing up by the fence firing at the enemy. I took him to be 
Cicero Kirkland, and called him by that name two or three times 
and told him to sit down. He did not seem to hear me and I was 
still looking at him when he fell, as I thought, dead. When the 
fight was over and we were gathering up our dead and wounded 
the man proved to be John Sauls, a voung man about eighteen 
years old. He was shot through the head. The ball entered 
between his left eve and his nose, just under his brow, and came 
out behind his right ear in the lobe, called the mastoid process. 
He was insensible. That poor fellow is still alive and lived in 
Eufaula, Ala., in 1904. He was a bright boy before he was 
wounded, but afterwards his face was drawn to one side, he had 
but very little mind, and was blind in one eye. 

The loss of the regiment was heavy that night. I do not know 
what it was, as I did not command it, but only assisted Capt. I. B. 
Feagin. I know, however, that in my company Matt Barnes, 
Calvin Kirkland, Alonzo Watson, Jones Hickman and Lott W 
McMath were killed. Hickman lived a few days and McMath's 
wound in the head was at first thought not to be dangerous, but 
the next day when it brought on fever he became insane, escaped 
from the field hospital and died in the woods alone. Thirteen 
others in my company were wounded. In Feagin's company, 


which was next to mine and on the left, Mr. Mcjunkin, the chap- 
lain, a young Presbyterian minister, took a gun and went into the 
fight praying, and got desperately wounded in both arms. Capt. 
R. E. Wright, then a lieutenant, was very severely and danger- 
ously wounded. He was shot through one of his lungs and in 
one of his arms, which was broken. He was captured the next 
day in the ambulance train, and suffered intensely, but was re- 
captured the same evening. A good part of the time he did not 
know where he was, but finally recovered, though never able to 
render any further service. He is now a highly esteemed and 
useful citizen residing at Midway in Bullock County, Ala. There 
is no better man than Dick Wright. He was a Representative 
from Barbour County in the Legislature of 1886-7. I could 
name several others, but as I cannot give the names of all I only 
mention these as instances of recoveries from wounds at first 
supposed to have been mortal. 

At the time of the cessation of our firing in consequence of the 
false report, "Cease firing, our friends are in front !" some one in 
Lawton's brigade, which was on our immediate left, called aloud, 
"Here is General Ewell, boys," and in an instant a terrible 
fusilade was directed by the Federals, who were as near to them 
as I was, — not more than fifty steps, — at the point where the 
voice was heard, and that gave Ewell the wound which caused 
him to lose one of his legs, and which ever after greatly impaired 
his health and efficiency as a general. He was one of the best 
division commanders in the Confederate Army. He was Jack- 
son's first lieutenant and ranked next to him in popularity with 
the soldiers of the old corps, which after Jackson's death he com- 
manded until his health failed him in the campaign of 1864. 

Gen. Dick Taylor, in his book, "Destruction and Reconstruc- 
tion," gives the following amusing, though correct, description 
of him : 

Dick Ewell was of a singular modesty. Bright, prominent eyes, a bomb- 
shaped bald head, and a nose like that of Francis of Valois, gave him a 
striking resemblance to a woodcock; and this was increased by a bird-like 
habit of putting his head on one side to utter his quaint speeches. He fancied 
that he had some mysterious internal malady, and would eat nothing but fru- 
menty, a preparation of wheat ; and his plaintive way of talking of his disease, 
as if he were some one else, was droll in the extreme. His nervousness pre- 
vented him from taking regular sleep, and he passed nights curled around a 
camp-stool in positions to dislocate an ordinary person's joints and drive the 
"Caoutchouc man" to despair. On such occasions, after long silence, he 
would suddenly direct his eyes and nose toward me with, "General Taylor, 
what do you suppose President Davis made me a major-general for?" begin- 


ning with a sharp accent and ending with a gentle lisp. Superbly mounted, 
he was the boldest of horsemen, invariably leaving the roads to take timber 
and water. No follower of the "Pytchley" or "Quorn" could have lived with 
him across country. With a fine tactical eye on the battle-field, he was never 
content with his own plan until he had secured the approval of another's judg- 
ment, and chafed under the restraint of command, proposing to fight with the 
skirmish line. On two occasions in the Valley, during the temporary absence 
of Jackson from the front, Ewell summoned me to his side, and immediately 
rushed forward among the skirmishers, where some sharp work was going 
on. Having refreshed himself, he returned with the hope that "Old Jackson 
would not catch him at it." He always spoke of Jackson, who was several 
years his junior, as "Old Jackson," and told me in confidence that he admired 
his genius, but was certain of his lunacy, and that he never saw one of Jack- 
son's couriers approach without expecting an order to assault the north pole. 
Later, after he had heard Jackson seriously declare that he never ate pepper 
because it produced a weakness in his left leg, he was confirmed in this opin- 
ion. With all his oddities, perhaps in some measure because of them, Ewell 
was adored by officers and men. 

He never married until after he had lost his leg, and then he 
married a widow, Mrs. Brown, said to have been his first love in 
early manhood. General Taylor says that after the war, when 
Ewell and his wife visited New Orleans, he called on them and 
Ewell, delighted to see him, took him by the hand and introduced 
him to "My wife, Mrs. Brown." Taylor continues: 

How well I remember our chat! How he talked of his plans and hopes 
and happiness, and of his great lot of books, which he was afraid he would 
never be able to read through. The while, "my wife, Mrs. Brown," sat by, 
handsome as a picture, smiling on her general, as well she might, so noble a 
gentleman. A few short years and both he and his wife passed away within 
an hour of each other ; but his last years were made happy by her compan- 
ionship and comfortable by the wealth she brought him. Dear Dick Ewell! 
Virginia never bred a truer gentleman, a braver soldier, nor an odder, more 
lovable fellow. 

Gen. Isaac R. Trimble was a Marylander, a West Pointer and 
an old army officer. Although about sixty-five years old, after 
the riot in Baltimore in 1861 and the manifestation of the purpose 
of the Lincoln Administration to coerce the seceding States back 
into the Union, from which, in the exercise of their reserved 
right as sovereign States, they had withdrawn, he came to Rich- 
mond and offered his services to the Confederacy. He was made 
a brigadier and assigned to the command of our brigade. He was 
unsurpassed for cool bravery. At Malvern Hill, when he had 
but three regiments, he formed them to charge one hundred pieces 
of artillery supported by the bulk of McClellan's army. It was 
at night. The solid shot and shells were thrown in every direc- 
tion, tearing up the trees like a hurricane, and the red glare of 


the fire from the cannon lighted up the forest around and gave an 
angry look to the skies. Fortunately for us, Jackson came along, 
and in his dry, crackling voice inquired, "What are you going to 
do, General Trimble?" "I am going to charge those batteries, 
sir." Jackson replied, "I guess you had better not try it. Gen. 
D. H. Hill has just tried it with his whole division and been 
repulsed; I guess you had better not try it, sir," and rode on. 
The brigade was delighted with this announcement. At Manassas, 
after he was wounded, he insisted on having his leg amputated, 
but the surgeons refused. After his recovery he was made a 
major-general. At Gettysburg, when General Pender was killed, 
Trimble was assigned to the command of his division and sup- 
ported Pickett on the left in his charge of Cemetery Ridge on the 
3d of July, 1863, and was wounded in the same leg and near the 
same place that he was wounded at Manassas the year before, and 
this time he lost his leg. When told that he must suffer amputa- 
tion he cursed the surgeons who had saved his leg from the first 
wound, and said had they amputated it then, as he tried to get 
them to do, he would not have received the second wound, as that 
shot would have missed him. He survived the war, and died in 
Baltimore in 1889. As the Fifteenth Alabama never served under 
his command, nor that of General Ewell after this engagement at 
second Manassas, I have thought proper to pen this brief notice of 
each of them. 

On the morning of the 29th of August the carnage of the field 
(which we held) was the most sickening of any I ever beheld. 
Our dead and wounded were terribly lacerated by the explosion 
of the balls that struck them. Some of our men, just after sun- 
rise, started a little fire in the edge of the woods in which we had 
fought, and I had a tin cup on the fire endeavoring to make some 
coffee, when a Yankee battery, seeing the smoke, threw a conical 
shell of large field size, which struck the ground about fifty yards 
off, ricochetted and fell in our little fire, with the fuse burning as 
it whirled around and around, knocking the fire in every direction. 
I lay close to the ground, while the men in the group sprang to 
their feet and ran away, and the shell exploded and wounded 
two of them. I was not hurt, but I confess I was very much 
frightened. Jackson readjusted his lines and awaited Pope's 
attack, which we were satisfied would be made during the day. 
I was nauseated by the scenes of blood and suffering and the loss 
of my coffee, and I rode out to the northwest and passed General 


Early with his brigade in a copse of woods guarding Jackson's 
right flank. I descended a hill just beyond and at a large spring 
I saw soldiers of Longstreet's corps, whom I knew. This was 
the first intimation I received of his arrival. I crossed a creek 
and went to a farm house just beyond and found the inmates to 
be good, hospitable Virginia women. They soon provided for 
me a good breakfast, with excellent coffee. I enjoyed it amazingly. 
When I had finished I lay down on the grass to take a nap while 
my horse grazed around me. I requested the ladies to call me if 
they saw any danger or heard heavy firing. I had a good sleep, 
of which I was sorely in need, but did not awake until the heavy 
firing began. I sprang on my horse and rode down the hill 
toward the creek, when I discovered three Union cavalrymen 
coming toward me and riding rapidly. I hurried forward. They 
called to me to halt; I refused and put spurs to my horse. They 
chased me across the creek and then disappeared. The position 
of the regiment and brigade had been changed. The firing was 
pretty lively, and I had some difficulty in finding the command. 
Skirmishing went on, with occasional artillery firing, until 3 
o'clock P M., when Pope advanced his forces and attacked the 
entire Confederate line, except Early's brigade. We had the pro- 
tection of the old railroad embankment, but at the right of the Fif- 
teenth was a gap in it where there was no embankment at all for 
fifty or sixty yards. Stark's Louisiana brigde occupied the other 
side of it. The provost gurd had caught quite a number of skulk- 
ers and stragglers and Jackson had Captain Scott, the provost 
and stragglers and Jackson had Captain Scott, the provost mar- 
marshal, to form them into a company and put them to guard that 
chasm, I suppose as much for punishment as for the real benefit 
they might be. On came the Yankees and the first attack we 
easily repulsed, but the next was more determined. A major on 
horseback led his regiment up to the opposite side of the embank- 
ment and charged upon it, and Company A, Captain Shaff, of 
the Fifteenth, killed the major and his horse on the embankment. 
Captain Feagin, when the firing ceased, rebuked the company for 
killing so brave a man and said they should have captured him. 
General Jackson had ridden up in the woods in rear of the em- 
bankment and heard it. Fie said, "No, Captain, the men are 
right; kill the brave ones, they lead on the others." 


Seeing their gallant major fall, this regiment broke and fled. 
Starke's men were kept busy, as well as Scott's stragglers. The 
third assault was then made by a heavy mass of the enemy on 
Starke, and with a determination to break through that gap. 
Scott's men were placed in the woods a little in rear of it, and kept 
up a steady fire. The Fifteenth, on the right of Trimble's brigade, 
not being engaged in front, fired right oblique to protect the gap 
and help Starke, whom they made a desperate and prolonged ef- 
fort to drive from his position. They had one side of the embank- 
ment and the Louisianians the other, and the flags of opposing 
regiments were almost flapping together. There were a large 
number of flint rocks on the Confederate side of the embankment 
and the Louisianians fought with them. Such a flying of rocks 
never was seen. At last the Yankees gave way, and when they 
turned their backs and fled the ground was blue with their dead 
and wounded. A man named Grice in Company K, and I believe 
one in Company A, were killed. Lieut. Watt Jones, of Company 
B, was wounded, from which he lost an arm. He recovered, but 
subsequently died of smallpox. I don't remember any other 
casualties in the regiment that day, but doubtless there were 
others. The next attack was made upon A. P Hill, to our left, 
but in sight. For two hours it was the most incessant musketry 
firing that I had up to that time ever heard at any one point. Hill 
held his ground, but Early was brought to his support. On 
Sunday, afterwards, I examined the ground and there was a space 
about three hundred yards long and two hundred yards wide 
literally covered with dead men. About dusk Friday evening 
Pope advanced his lines and began a general assault and the Con- 
federates, worn out by the long and arduous fatigue, began at one 
or two points slowly and sullenly to give way, when fortunately 
Hood arrived with two brigades, the vanguard of Longstreet's 
immense corps, and fell upon the enemy's flank and drove it nearly 
a mile, which ended the fighting for that day. 

On Friday night and Saturday morning Longstreet's troops 
were arriving and taking position at Groveton and extending the 
line across the pike in the direction of Bull Run below the stone 
bridge. Demonstrations were made toward Longstreet's line, but 
no serious attack was made by Pope until 4 o'clock P M., and 
then it was again made against Jackson's line. It was a heavy 
assault, but Col. Stephen D. Lee's artillery, which was so posted 
as to enfilade the assaulting column, was so admirably served that 



they soon gave way. Just then I saw D. R. Jones's and Toomb's 
brigades coming into line beyond the Henry house. Then Long- 
street's whole line advanced and Jackson's joined in the forward 
movement. The scene was at this point indescribably grand. 
The Yankees would fall back a short distance, about-face and 
deliver their fire. The Confederates steadily pressed forward. 
The onward rush of the artillery, halting at every available 
position and delivering their fire, with the steady roll of the Con- 
federate musketry and the "rebel yell," told that they were soon 
to be the victors. By an hour after dark Pope's army was across 
Bull Run and the second battle of Manassas was won, the Con- 
federates not attempting to cross the Run that night in pursuit. 

The moment when Porter's regulars made the last desperate 
assault upon Jackson's right is the stage of the battle presented in 
the grand Cyclorama which was for years kept upon permanent 
exhibition in Washington, D. C. But only one stage of the battle 
can be exhibited in a picture or painting, and that one most favor- 
able to the Federals was selected by the artist. One-half hour 
later that field presented a much grander battle scene, when the 
Federals were being driven from point to point in the direction 
of Bull Run. It would not, however, be popular with the friends 
of the Union in that struggle to behold a cyclorama on exhibition 
in the Capital City of the nation in which the Union army was 
beaten and driven from the field. The Cyclorama is a great work 
of art and well worth seeing. It is a correct representation of the 
battle at the time and point exhibited. 

Saturday night of August 30, 1862, closed on one of the blood- 
iest fields of the war. The Confederates were jubilant. Victory 
had perched upon their standards and Pope's army was in retreat 
on Washington. Though beaten, his army was not sufficiently 
demoralized to promise great fruits to a close pursuit. Besides, 
they were now in possession of the high hills and strong works at 
Centerville. The Confederates were badly crippled and needed 

Pope had planned badly and failed to take in the situation until 
the battle was too far spent for him to correct his errors, if it had 
■been possible for him to have done so. But the men of his army 
never fought better. They seemed determined to compensate by 
obstinate fighting for the deficiency of generalship in their com- 
mander, and while their losses in killed and wounded were very 
great, that of the Confederates was not small. Indeed it had been 


heavy, especially in officers. Regiments, and in some instances 
brigades, were commanded by captains. Every field officer in 
Trimble's brigade — then consisting of the Twelfth and Twenty- 
first Georgia, Twenty-first North Carolina and Fifteenth Alabama 
regiments — who was present at the beginning of the battle had 
disappeared during the three days' storm of lead and iron. 

The opposing forces were more nearly equal than on some other 
fields of note. Pope had about 65,000 men and Lee had 47,000 
present and about 10,000 more men on the march, who arrived 
after the battle. They had factions, jealousies and quarrels in 
the Federal Army in those days ; in this respect the Confederates 
had the advantage, for while there was some such trouble among 
them it was not near so great, and Lee was facile princeps. No 
fault was found with anything he did or ordered done. Fitz John 
Porter was the best corps commander in the Federal Army. He 
was a strong friend and admirer of McClellan and had no respect 
for Pope nor confidence in his ability as a general, hence he 
doubted and hesitated to obey his order with reference to at 
tacking Jackson's right on Friday evening, the 29th of August, 
when in fact Longstreet was in position to have destroyed 
his corps had he obeyed the order. The responsibility had to be 
fixed on some one for the loss of the battle. Porter being a 
McClellan man and a Democrat, and not in harmony with the 
Administration politically, was selected for the sacrifice. Accord- 
ingly he was arrested, court-martialed and cashiered; he barely 
escaped being shot. President Lincoln approved the finding and 
the intrepid corps commander was expelled from the army in 
disgrace. He persisted in asserting his innocence. Hayes, while 
acting President, was prevailed upon to assemble a board of army 
officers to review the proceedings of the court and to hear 
additional evidence, if any were offered, touching Porter's guilt. 
The board assembled. They examined Longstreet and other 
Confederates and elicited a considerable amount of testimony 
tending to show Porter's innocence. General Grant became con- 
vinced of it and wrote a letter in his behalf. The board had no- 
power or jurisdiction to disturb the finding of the court, and 
hence was only advisory, and might justify the President in the 
exercise of the pardoning power so far as he could constitution- 
ally do so. The additional testimony attracted public attention 
and sympathy. Bills were introduced in every Congress after 
the report of the Schofield board for the relief of Porter and to 


restore him to his rank of colonel in the Regular Army. In the 
Forty-eighth Congress the question was most elaborately dis- 
cussed and the bill passed, but was vetoed by President Arthur. 
The House of Representatives passed the bill over the veto by the 
requisite two-thirds, but it failed in the Senate. At the first 
session of the Forty-ninth Congress the bill, somewhat modified 
in form, was brought up and again most elaborately discussed in 
both houses of Congress. It passed and received the approval of 
President Cleveland, who appointed Porter to a colonelcy in the 
Army on the retired list, and thus ended one of the most notable 
cases of military punishment in the history of civilization. The 
writer, being then a member of Congress, made two speeches in 
the case, to show that Porter's punishment was greater than he 

General Lee in his official report summed up the results of the 
battle as follows : 

Seven thousand prisoners were taken, in addition to 2000 wounded left in 
our hands. We captured 30 pieces of artillery, upwards of 20,000 stand of 
small arms, numerous colors, and a large amount of stores, besides those 
taken by General Jackson at Manassas Junction, which he reported as 8 pieces 
of artillery with 72 horses, equipments and ammunition complete, 300 prison- 
ers, i/S horses in addition to those with the artillery, 200 new tents, and a vast 
amount of commissary stores and sutler's goods. 



The March Around Pope's Army via the Little River Turnpike — Battle of 
Chantilly Farm, or Ox Hill — A Dispute as to Command — Death of Gen- 
eral Kearny. 

On Sunday morning, it being the 31st, and last day of the 
month, Jackson ordered inspection and muster and that the men 
should exchange inferior arms for finer and better ones picked up 
on the field. Reports of casualties were sent in, rations supplied 
to and distributed among the men, all of which was done and we 
were ready to march by noon. We needed rest, but the tide of 
victory if taken at the flood it was hoped would lead on to for- 
tune. So Jackson set his corps in motion. We crossed Bull Run 
at Sudley's Ford. The rain poured down, and after a fatiguing 
march of several miles north-northeast we bivouacked for the 
night. The next morning the march was resumed until Middle 
River Turnpike was reached. This pike formed a junction at 
Germantown with the Warrenton Pike which led to Washington. 
Jackson now headed his column down the pike with the view of 
intercepting Pope's retreat and taking him in flank, while Long- 
street would press hard in his rear. About five o'clock we reached 
Chantilly Farm, within one or two miles of Germantown, and at 
a point called Ox Hill, where the pikes converge within rifle-shot 
of each other. Here the collision occurred. The Louisiana 
brigade, Colonel Strong commanding, was formed on our left at 
the edge of a wood along a fence, facing an open field, and Trim- 
ble's brigade, Captain Brown, of the Twelfth Georgia Regiment, 
commanding, continued the alignment nearly to the Little River 
Pike. The brigades of Branch and Field, of A. P Hill's division, 
under Colonel Brockenbrough, advanced from the pike to the 
attack. The Federals met them by an advance of the divisions 
of Kearny and Reno, and the two brigades of Ewell and the two 
of Hill's division were soon heavily engaged, the Stonewall divi- 
sion to the left. A cold rain storm was full in our faces and 


drenched us to the skin while the fighting was going on. Hill's 
brigades were driven back, and the Louisiana brigade gave way, 
a thing it never had done before, on any field, when commanded 
by Wm. H. T. Walker, Dick Taylor, or Hays. Colonel Strong, 
its commander, doubtless brave enough, was of a very excitable 
manner, which always has a demoralizing influence upon the 
best soldiers. No command is reliable when its chief is unsteady, 
very excitable, or cowardly. As the Louisiana brigade gave way, 
one regiment after another of Trimble's brigade followed the 
example. The Fifteenth Alabama was on the right, Captain T. 
B. Feagin commanding, and hence was the last to receive the 
panic. I was acting as major, hence on the left. The Twelfth 
Georgia was next on the left, and when it began to give way I 
tried to stop the men and make them return to the fence. I ap- 
pealed to the proud record the regiment had previously made, but 
it was unavailing. An appeal to the pride of men when panic- 
stricken is completely thrown away. That discipline which 
makes them fear to disobey th'eir commander, or the electrical 
influence of daring example, are the only means of controlling 
men thus circumstanced. 

Captain Brown, our brigade commander, seeing the 
retrograde movement of his regiment, with his conspicuous 
black plume in his hat, his long sabre in hand, his face aglow 
with excitement and indignation, looked like Goliah with his 
weaver's beam. His tall form was conspicuous along the line 
among the retreating men, trying to halt them, and cursing like 
a trooper, when a Federal bullet struck him in the head and killed 
him instantly. The Fifteenth Alabama, the last regiment of the 
brigade, caught the panic. Captain Feagin, myself, and others 
tried to hold it in position, but we were but captains, and the 
panic was too much for us. I ordered my old company back to the 
fence, which it had left but a few steps. The men obeyed me. We 
remained but a minute, when Private Daniel McClellan sa,id to me 
in his long-drawling, North Carolina mountaineer voice, "Cap- 
tain, are you going to keep us here when every one else is gone ? 
Our company can't fight the whole Yankee army." I saw that he 
was right and then ordered a retreat; we ran about 150 yards 
back into the woods, where the brigade was attempting to reform. 
All was confusion and no one knew what captain held the rank and 
was entitled to command the brigade. A captain of the Twelfth 
Georgia Regiment claimed it, and was up on a log haranguing 


very patriotically. Before leaving the fence I had been hit on my 
right shin by either a ball or a piece of shell, I know not which. 
It knocked my foot from under me and was decidedly painful, 
and although the skin was not broken, in consequence of the pro- 
tection afforded by my boot-leg, yet it was a severe bruise and 
sloughed afterwards. Added to this was the disgraceful conduct 
of our men, all of which gave me a very unchristian state of mind. 
The Georgia captain was yelling and shouting to the troops as 
excitedly as though exhorting at a camp-meeting in time of a revi- 
val. I had seen him but a few minutes before "working in the 
lead" when his regiment was retreating in disorder. I told him 
very emphatically that he could not command me for I would not 
serve under him. Besides, there was then no means at hand by 
which to detemine who held the rank. I was willing to have 
served under the command of any private in the brigade if he 
were half-way competent and would stand squarely up and face 
the fire, but I did not intend to be commanded by that captain. I 
withhold his name because he was afterwards killed in battle 
while behaving most gallantly Let his faults be buried with him. 
I went to Captain Feagin, and he very promptly decided to act on 
his own judgment and to fight the regiment with or independently 
of the remainder of the brigade throughout that action according 
to the circumstances. We moved forward to regain the ground 
we had lost. The other regiments to our left followed our exam- 

Fortunately just at the moment of our advance A. P. Hill 
brought into action the brigades of Gregg, Thomas, and Pender, 
and the Federals gave ground before their advance, so that we 
regained our fence without the severe contest which we expected. 
It was now dark and the rain ceased. Only some desultory firing 
was going on, when Major-General Phil Kearny rode up near to 
some of Thomas's Georgia brigade, and mistaking them for his 
own men ordered them to cease firing. They in turn demanded that 
he surrender. He wheeled his horse and dashed off; they fired 
and killed him, but his skin was not broken. Kearny and Reno 
had gained the night, which was of vast importance to Pope. 
By morning his rear-guard only was in Germantown and his 
army away beyond and nearing the fortifications of Washington. 
Kearny was a gallant officer in the war with Mexico, in which 
he lost an arm. General Lee knew him well and had great respect 
for him. It was ascertained that after he fell that night his body 
had been robbed of his watch and other valuables. General Lee 


sent around to the different regiments a request that these be re- 
turned, and the soldiers who had the valuables promptly surren- 
dered them. General Lee then sent the body of the dead general 
into the Federal lines under a flag of truce. His remains were 
interred in Trinity Church-yard, New York, near those of Alex- 
ander Hamilton. This was appropriate, because he came to his 
death fighting for the maintenance of the principles and theory 
of government ably and ingeniously, but erroneously, advocated 
by Hamilton. The losses of the regiment in this engagement 
were not heavy. They will be found in the official reports and on 
the muster rolls of the respective companies. 



In Maryland — The Spirit of Volunteering Broken — Condemnation of Policy of 
Confederate Government — The Confederate Soldiers in the Ranks Ex- 
tolled in Highest Degree — The Other Side of the Conscript Question — 
The Capture of Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry by Jackson — The Loss 
of D. H. Hill's Order — The Battle of Sharpsburg, or Antietam — Dispar- 
ity of Numbers — Lee a Great General, But When He Recrossed the 
Potomac Back Into Virginia for the Lack of Numbers, the Decadence of 
the Confederacy Began. 

On the morning of the 2d of September, 1862, I went to Gen- 
eral Lawton, the division commander, and informed him of the 
condition of Trimble's brigade, and requested him to assign an 
officer of rank and courage to the command of it, and suggested 
Colonel James A. Walker, of the Thirteenth Virginia Regiment. 
Colonel Walker was placed in command at once, and continued 
to command it until after the battle of Sharpsburg, when he was 
made a brigadier-general and assigned to the old Stonewall bri- 
gade. During the 2d we were in camp not far from Chantilly 
Farm preparing for the march of the next day. On the 3d and 
4th the army moved through Loudon County to White's Ford, 
where on the 5th it crossed, by wading the Potomac, into Mary- 
land, and from thence marched to Frederick City and went into 
camp near that place on the Monocacy River September the 7th. 
Here we remained two days. I visited Frederick and rode 
through the town. One-half of the business houses and resi- 
dences were closed. The other half were wide open and alive to 
the comforts of the soldiers, while the Confederate flag floated 
proudly over every one of them. Three companies of volunteers 
were raised by Colonel Bradley T. Johnson, who marched with 
Lee's army when it left there. No doubt these new volunteers 
were greatly disappointed when they found that the movement 
of Lee was back toward Virginia instead of forward. Had he 
been strong enough in numbers to have pressed forward and won 


a victory, volunteers would have joined the Confederates by thou- 
sands, and success would have been almost a certainty. But the 
President and his Cabinet at Richmond had refused to accept vol- 
unteers faster than they could procure arms for them. General 
Sidney Johnston in the West appealed to them to allow him to 
accept volunteers for twelve months, but they refused, and he lost 
Kentucky and Tennessee. They adopted the defensive go-slow 
policy, put the volunteers in camps of instruction, and undertook 
to make regulars out of them. This should have been done one 
year previously, but not in the fall of 1862. This course damp- 
ened the ardor and repressed the enthusiasm which universally 
prevailed among the people of the Confederacy the year before. 
During 186 1 and the first part of 1862 unarmed regiments in the 
rear to have taken the places and arms of those who had held the 
front of battle for a day would have assured victory upon every 
field. The captured arms could have been utilized at once, for the 
enthusiasm of our men would have been at fever heat. The 
Federals, disconcerted by our tactics and numbers, and demoral- 
ized bv our successes, would have fled before the advance of our 
victorious armies, and the Confederacy would in all probability 
have achieved its independence. But when Lee had to retrace 
his steps; when at the battle of Sharpsburg (or Antietam, as the 
"Yankees call it), after two days of heroic fighting with odds 
against him of three to one, he was compelled to put the Potomac 
"between him and McClellan for the lack of more troops, there 
was very little prospect left of the success of the Confederacy. 
From that event demoralization began among our people at home. 
The enthusiasm which had prompted volunteering was at an end 
and conscription took its place. Men began actively to hunt for 
bomb-proof positions and to be congratulated by their friends 
when they found such. The price of substitutes rose rapidly. 
The twenty-negro exemption law was regarded as a great bless- 
ing by all who were fortunate enough to have them. Why? 
Because it enabled the owner to produce supplies with which to 
feed our soldiers? No. This was the pretext under which the 
law was enacted. But those who availed themselves of its pro- 
visions did so for another and more potential reason, which was 
and is plain enough to every one. To state it is unnecessary. It 
enabled the owner to keep out of the army ; he was not subject to 
conscription. Its advocates claimed that it was a necessary part of 
the conscription act. The act was a levy en masse of all the white 


males within all the States of the Confederacy between the ages 
of eighteen and thirty-five years. Subsequently it was extended 
to all over sixteen and under fifty years of age, which caused 
General Grant to say that the Confederacy had robbed the cradle 
and the grave to recruit its armies. Of course there had to be 
exceptions named in the act. It would not do to conscribe and 
send to the front the halt, the lame, and the blind, nor all the phy- 
sicians, millers, mechanics, and farmers within the ages named, 
for manifest reasons. In the case of the farmers it would leave 
many plantations on which there were large numbers of negro 
slaves without any white man thereon; others with none save a 
very old man or young boys. Who could guarantee safety to the 
women and children in such cases ? Who could feel safe against 
an insurrection of the slaves ? Who could give assurance of good 
crops or any benefit from the farms, when the intelligent head, 
the master, was absent in the army? No one is ubiquitous; he 
could not be at home giving intelligent direction to labor and at 
the front fighting the battles of the Confederacy at one and the 
same time. The conduct of the slaves during the war was extra- 
ordinary. But that could not be foreseen. It was most exemplary 
and friendly to their masters. Not a single case of murder, rape, 
or outrage occurred during the entire war. With but rare excep- 
tions they remained at home, behaved well, and labored faith- 
fully. In many cases where a man owned less than twenty slaves, 
and he the head of the family, the only white man on the premises, 
was taken to the front by conscription, they labored faithfully to 
provide for the white family. But usually in such cases some 
more fortunate neighbor who was exempt would give some at- 
tention and direction to the slaves and affairs of his absent friend. 
I concede high praise to the negro slaves for their good conduct, 
and devotion to the families of their masters during that trying 
period. They could, by rising in insurrection, have produced 
such consternation and horror as to have terminated the war by 
the end of the second year of its existence. While I am always 
glad to give them credit for every good act, I do not agree with 
those who contend that the good conduct and subordination of 
the slaves during the war proceeded from devotion to their own- 
ers alone. That was one reason and it operated wonderfully in 
some cases ; but it was but one, and in a majority of instances I 
have no doubt that other considerations were more potential fac- 
tors in influencing their course. 


I classify the restraints thus: First, Their attachment to the 
white people, with whom they had been reared from childhood; 
Second, Ignorance of what was involved in the war ; Third, Fear 
of the consequences of insurrection, insubordination, or other acts 
of hostility or violence toward the whites. 

These combined causes account for their good conduct. The 
products of their labor sustained the war. They produced a large 
part of the supplies which fed the armies in the field. The reso- 
lutions of Congress declaring war against the seceding States set 
forth the purpose thereof in clear and unmistakable language to 
be the restoration to the Union of those States, "With all their 
rights, dignity and institutions unimpaired." Therefore, during 
1 86 1 and 1862 it was the practice of the commanding generals 
of the Union armies to surrender, or return to their owners, slaves 
escaping into their lines. A knowledge of this fact had some in- 
fluence on the conduct of the slaves wherever it was known. This 
action of the Union generals soon raised a howl among the 
Abolitionists, whose object in provoking the war was to abolish 
slavery. The great aid they were to the Confederates was also 
embarrassing to the cause of the Union. The necessities of the 
case suggested to President Lincoln and his advisers to declare 
negro slaves contraband of war. He therefore, on the 226: of 
September, 1862, signed and published his proclamation calling 
on all the States and people in rebellion against the authority of 
United States to lay down their arms and return to their alle- 
giance to the Union, and that on their failure to do so by the 1st 
day of January, 1863, all their slaves were declared to be absolved 
from slavery and to be free. It was not claimed by Mr. Lincoln 
that he had any legal or constitutional right to do this; but he 
justified it as a war measure. This is why the negro was there- 
after called a contraband. All the old soldiers will remember 
this. He was treated as helpful to the Confederates, just as 
horses, mules, munitions of war, etc., were helpful. They de- 
clared the negro slave free to destroy the right of property which 
rebellious (so-called) people had in him, the same as Sheridan 
destroyed all the wheat, corn, and mills of the people in the Val- 
ley of Virginia to cripple the resources of the Confederacy. Sup- 
pose the Confederates had accepted the terms of the proclama- 
tion; what would have been the status of the slaves? This is 
substantially the question as put by Vice-President Alexander H. 
Stephens to Mr. Lincoln at the Fortress Monroe conference; to 


which he replied that it would be a question for the courts to 
determine. The question for the courts would have been, not as 
to the right of property in his slaves of the person who had 
accepted the terms of that proclamation, but of the legality of the 
proclamation itself. If it had been accepted, slavery would still 
have existed for many years. 

Having given the arguments in favor of the conscript law, now 
let us look at the other side of that question. One of the prime 
causes for seceding from the Union was the violation of the Con- 
stitution by Congress and the Northern States. The Confeder- 
ate States made haste to adopt a permanent Constitution, hoping 
thereby, with other means then being employed, to secure recog- 
nition from other nations. A revised and improved edition of 
the Constitution of the United States was adopted. Sub-division 
sixteen of section eight was adopted without change, except the 
substitution of the words "Confederate States" for "United 
States.' This provision of the Constitution reserved "To the 
United States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and 
the authority of training the militia, etc." The conscript act 
utterly violated, in fact ignored, this constitutional provision. 
The Government of the United States observed and respected it, 
and thereby preserved the authority of those States in this respect. 
Thus it will be seen that the Confederate Congress violated their 
new Constitution before it was six months old. Calls were made 
on the Union States by President Lincoln, each for its quota of 
men, and when they could not be obtained by volunteering, re- 
course was had to a draft, in which the States determined which 
of its citizens could best be spared and which could not be. Our 
conscript law gave the Confederate States full control within the 
States; to say who of their citizens should go to the front, who 
could remain at home. It appointed the officers and enforced the 
law in many instances by tyrannical cowards, purchasable or par- 
tial hypocrites and "Buttermilk Rangers," who never heard the 
whistle of a Yankee bullet during the war, and if they ever did, 
got away from it as soon as possible. If a poor fellow who had 
been to the front and seen service came limping home on his 
crutches with a bullet hole through his leg, or emaciated to a 
shadow from the ravages of disease, and overstayed his furlough 
a few days, the conscript officer and the "Buttermilk Ranger" 
would be after him to drive him to the front again , while gamb- 
lers and debauchees were allowed to remain at home and revel in 


lustful and sumptuous living. Such was the administration of 
the conscript law by the Confederate Government. This was 
irritating, and in some cases exasperating, to the real soldiers, in 
the extreme. The soldier's pride as a patriotic volunteer was 
gone ; he was subjected to the harsh discipline of the regular. And 
then the negro exemption, which extended at first to all who 
owned fifteen, and afterwards to all who owned twenty slaves, 
began to impress the non-slaveholding soldier — and a decided 
majority of those in the ranks never owned a slave — with the 
idea that it was "the rich man's war and the poor man's fight." 
Complaints of absenteeism became more and more frequent, until 
the last year of the war, when desertion was of frequent occur- 
rence. Nor was this confined to the troops from any particular 
State or section. I never have had in my heart any ill-feeling nor 
have I used harsh words toward the poor man who fought faith- 
fully for three years and then, seeing how things were going, 
deserted to get out of the war. On the other hand, I have never 
been able to employ language sufficiently strong to give high 
enough praise to those Titanic heroes who stood by their colors 
with unflinching courage and devotion, under all the vicissitudes 
of outrageous fortune, until the star of the Confederacy sank be- 
neath the horizon to rise no more. No Spartan, no Roman, no 
Englishman, no Frenchman, no American ever before exhibited 
such sublime heroism. The names of each, even the humblest, 
should be emblazoned in gold and preserved for future generations 
of men to point out to their children as the names of the purest 
patriots, the most self-sacrificing and noble men of any in the 
history of the world. 

A majority of the most fiery spirits and "blood drinkers," as 
those were called who had predicted that war would not follow 
as a consequence of secession, had gone out of service upon one 
pretext or another at the expiration of the first year's enlistment. 
Confederate enthusiasm had reached its flood tide and the ebb 
had set in. The Confederacy was beaten when the ardor of the 
people began to flag, when the spirit of volunteering ceased, and 
the disposition to seek soft and safe places appeared instead. But 
I could not see it. I was too young and full of hope and Confed- 
erate patriotism. I would have refused to have seen it had it been 
pointed out to me. I suppose the rank and file, as a general thing, 
of those who remained in the service refused to see, and felt 
about it, as I did. The notorious Captain Sanders, of Dale 


County, Alabama, two months after this battle, resigned a cap- 
taincy in the Thirty-first Georgia Regiment and was exempted 
from military service as a mill-wright. Afterwards his exemp- 
tion was set aside and mill-wrights were no longer exempt and he 
was declared subject to conscription, to resist which he took to 
the woods and became a raider and murderer. I mention this 
extreme case for illustration merely. If any one should imagine 
why I have made the foregoing digression from my narrative, 
I reply that it is due to the truth of history that the state of the 
country, however gloomy and disagreeable to tell, should be told. 
The full measure of the patriotism that animated those heroic 
souls who stayed and fought until "The warrior's banner took 
its flight to greet the warrior's soul" cannot be conceived nor 
understood by those who have grown up since the war, unless 
they are shown a true picture of the discouraging surroundings. 

Pope was relieved from command and General McClellan 
restored. He had Pope's army of 60,000 men combined with his 
old veteran Army of the Potomac with which he had operated in 
the Peninsula against Richmond, the whole amounting to 100,000 
men, and was marching against Lee at Frederick town. Lee 
intended to fight him, but as far away from the Federal base of 
supplies as possible, perhaps about Boonsboro or Hagerstown. 
But the Federals at Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg obstructed 
Lee's communications with Richmond and had not evacuated 
those places on the arrival of the Confederates at Frederick, as 
had been expected. Hence, on the morning of the 10th Jackson's 
corps marched westward to Hagerstown and then turned south 
to Williamsport, where he crossed the Potomac, and by his rapid 
marching reached Martinsburg on the morning of the 12th and 
invested the place. Ewell's and Taliaferro's divisions were put 
in position to prevent the escape of the garrison to the west, and 
A. P Hill's division attacked the town and drove its occupants 
out in the direction of Harper's Ferry, leaving a considerable 
quantity of quartermaster, commissary and ordnance stores to the 
Confederates. The march was resumed toward Harper's Ferry, 
and on the morning of the 1 3th, about 1 1 o'clock, Hill, who was 
in the advance, came in view of the Federals in force drawn up 
to receive us on Bolivar Heights. Jackson put his corps in camp 
until he could learn that the co-operating forces were in position. 
Lee had sent McLaws with his own and R. H. Anderson's 
division to take and occupy with artillery the Maryland Heights, 


and Gen. J. G. Walker to cross the Potomac lower down and then 
march his division up on the Virginia side and occupy Loudoun 
Heights on the south bank of the Shenandoah. 

Harper's Ferry is situated in the fork of the two rivers and 
Bolivar Heights on the west extends from one river to the other. 
Jackson tried to establish communication by signal, and failing 
in this he despatched a courier to each of the commanders of 
his forces. Walker soon replied that he was in position, 
but McLaws had encountered greater difficulties and did not 
reach his position until a late hour on the 14th. Jackson drove 
the Federal troops from their entrenchments on the heights into 
Harper's Ferry and got his guns in position that night. Hill that 
evening drove the enemy from an important eminence and occu- 
pied it with artillery. During the night Jackson caused ten guns 
to be carried over the Shenandoah and placed in position with the 
troops of Walker on the heights. The infantry was advanced 
during the night at all points where it was practicable. Very 
early on the morning of the 15th the artillery from all the heights, 
and from nearly every direction, poured in their fire incessantly 
for two hours, when the Federals ceased firing and the white flag 
was displayed. When this occurred the Confederate infantry 
was ready to charge and Pender's brigade had already begun to 
move. Colonel Miles, the commander of the post, was killed by 
a shell early in the engagement and Brigadier-General White 
surrendered something over 11,000 men, 73 pieces of artillery and 
13,000 small arms — enough to have armed fifteen regiments if we 
had had that number of unarmed troops present. With such an 
addition it was altogether probable that Lee would have remained 
north of the Potomac. Jackson left Hill to parole the prisoners 
and save the captured stores, and with his other two divisions 
made a rapid march during the evening and night, crossed the 
river at Shepherdstown and took his place on the left of Lee's 
lines near a Dunkard church at an early hour on the 17th. When 
Lee sent to the division commanders at Frederick town his order 
of march — general order No. 191 — it necessarily disclosed the 
plan of operations for the capture of Martinsburg and Harper's 
Ferry. Gen. D. H. Hill, it was said, in a petulant manner, after 
reading his copy, dashed it down and left it, because it assigned 
him to bringing up the rear, as he had done when marching on 
Manassas. It had kept him out of that battle, which did not suit 
his taste nor his ambition ; while another report is that he lost it. 
In either event it was a sad mishap for the Confederate cause. 


Lee had calculated from his knowledge of the man and the slow 
and cautious manner of McClellan's march that Jackson, McLaws 
and Walker would have time to capture Harper's Ferry and 
return to the point he would select for concentrating his whole 
force, and thus enable him to take a defensive attitude and compel 
McClellan to attack and fight his whole army on the ground 
selected by him. Could Lee have done this, there was a strong 
probability that he would have been successful. But some of 
McClellan's troops found the order which' Hill had thrown away, 
or lost, and at once placed it in the hands of their commander. 
McClellan now quickened his pace and pushed forward with all 
his might. On the evening of the 13th his vanguard came up 
with some of the cavalry and D. H. Hill's division, which had not 
been in action since at Malvern Hill, and was composed of splen- 
did men. This division now constituted the Confederate rear- 

Lee instructed Hill to hold the passes through South Mountain 
at Boonsboro and to the south of it. Early on the morning of 
the 14th McClellan undertook to force a passage through the 
gaps, one of which led directly to the rear of McLaws, through 
Pleasant Valley. Hill's division of five brigades, by hard fight- 
ing, held the whole Federal army in check. At 4 o'clock P M. 
Longstreet arrived from Hagerstown, and uniting with Hill, kept 
McClellan at a stand until night. When Lee found the Federal 
army overlapping both his flanks he saw that it would not do to 
hazard another battle in that position in the absence of so many 
of his troops, and therefore retired behind Antietam Creek, where 
on the morning of the 15th he formed his line of battle with his 
headquarters in the village of Sharpsburg. 

About this time the news reached these troops that Harper's 
Ferry had surrendered, which was said to have greatly reanimated 
them. McClellan came on and formed his lines on the 16th on 
the opposite side of Antietam and opened a heavy fire of his artil- 
lery and assaulted the Confederate left with his infantry, but 
Hood's division met the heaviest of it and repulsed him. Jackson 
arrived the next morning and relieved Hood. During that day 
Gen. W B. Franklin's grand division, composed of the corps of 
Reno and Hooker, and amounting to 30,000 men, was thrown 
upon Jackson's two small divisions, consisting of less than 10,000 
men. The fight was a bloody one, the Confederates sometimes 
driving and then being driven, and the same ground was fought 
over several times. That afternoon Walker arrived, but McLaws, 



with his own and R. H. Anderson's division, finding the direct 
road hazardous, if not blocked by Federal troops, crossed the 
Potomac and marched by Shepherdstown, where he recrossed to 
the Maryland side, but did not arrive until the evening of the 
17th. A. P Hill with his division also arrived that day, so that 
these three fresh divisions were in the fight of the 17th, which 
was a severe general engagement all along the lines. During the 
afternoon, while McClellan was attacking Lee's center, Jackson 
was directed to endeavor to turn McClellan's right and get in his 
rear, but found that his line extended so near to the river and was 
so strongly supported by artillery that the attempt had to be 
abandoned. In the afternoon the fighting by Longstreet's troops 
right against the Ninth Corps under Burnside was terrific and 

On the 1 8th Lee held the same ground he occupied at the 
beginning, except that in the center he had contracted and drawn 
in his lines a short distance. During the 18th each army occupied 
the day in removing their wounded and burying their dead and 
looking at each other like tired wrestlers, each waiting for the 
other to call time on him and dreading the next onset. Lee 
learned that McClellan was waiting reenforcements, then on their 
way and soon to arrive. He could not expect any and was too 
weak to assume the offensive. He therefore, during the night, 
crossed the river at Shepherdstown into Virginia and went into 
camp on the Opequan River, a few miles from the latter place. 
McClellan pursued and crossed a considerable force, which cap- 
tured four of Colonel Pendleton's guns. A. P Hill's and Ewell's 
divisions were turned back upon this force, which was hurled into 
the river, as Jackson said in his official report, "followed by an 
appalling scene of the destruction of human life." No further 
attempt was made to cross the river Thus ended Lee's Maryland 
campaign, which no general could have conducted with greater 
skill, and which for the lack of numbers was attended by no 
substantial, decisive results. The invasion of Maryland, which 
had inspired such hopes of success, had miscarried. Lee did not 
have men enough. He fought this great battle with less than 
40,000 men. We had whipped the Yankees several times, but 
they would not stay whipped; they just "kept pegging away." 
The echoes of the artillery in the parting salutes fired by the 
opposing parties on the banks of the Potomac sounded the death- 
knell of the infant Confederacy, but the Confederates would not 
admit it. They refused to see it. 


The struggle for life, for an independent existence, went on 
and whole hecatombs of patriots were sacrificed on numerous 
fields, but the sick man was sick unto death and would not recover. 
I was not in the battle of Sharpsburg. I was at the house of an 
old Dutchman, between Harper's Ferry and Shepherdstown, on 
a surgeon's certificate of disability, but within hearing of the 
musketry — a safe, but a more uneasy and annoying position than 
in the thickest of the fight. I saw the road full of wounded men 
and stragglers all day on the 17th, and the latter, who were largely 
in the majority, invariably gave a gloomy account of affairs across 
the river. Captain Feagin commanded the regiment in the battle 
and in the affair at Shepherdstown he was wounded by a shell, 
which unfitted him for service for the remainder of the year. 
The losses sustained by the regiment were considerable. I can 
name but few. My faithful and gallant orderly sergeant, Josiah 
Balkum, from Dale County, who would have made a most excel- 
lent captain of a company, was killed; so also was Lewis Hix, 
Moses G. Maybin and others whose names I cannot recall from 
memory. I went to the regiment on the 21st, where it was 
encamped on the Opequan River. The first lieutenant of my 
company, — C. V Morris, after the war a prominent and success- 
ful merchant of Fort Gaines, Ga., — was in command of it. I being 
the only captain present, took command of the regiment, but had 
to get me a horse to ride, as I was still unable to walk and could 
not well command a regiment without being mounted. 



An Incident of a Cold Day — About Whiskey in Miles' Gap — The Battle of 
Fredericksburg — One of the Advantages of Masonry — A Great Oppor- 
tunity Lost to the Confederates — The Advantage of Modern Inventions 
in War — The Reason for Not Assaulting at Night — Close of the Cam- 
paign of 1862 — State Brigades. 

It is a principle in human nature as broad as the human family 
to love power and to exercise authority. It pervades all races 
and conditions. Hence, while I was sorry for the misfortunes 
of those who ranked above me, by which they were absent, yet in 
illustration of the old adage, "There is always something to con- 
sole us for the misfortunes of our neighbors," I was proud of the 
honor of commanding a regiment and this was the first time, on 
this the 21st day of September, 1862, that I had thus been hon- 
ored. This was on the Opequan River. The next day after I 
assumed command we marched past Falling Waters and went 
into camp near Bunker's Hill, northeast of Winchester, where we 
remained for several days. The next camp we occupied was near 
Berryville, from which we had to wade the Shenandoah and tear 
up the Manassas Gap Railroad for a considerable distance. Major 
Lowther rejoined us and took command of the regiment at this 
camp about the 1st of October. Man never waded colder water 
than that of the Shenandoah on our return from the raid on the 
railroad. One cold day in November, when the snow lay on the 
ground nearly a foot deep and was frozen to a crust on top, with 
a biting cold wind blowing from the north and it was all we could 
do to keep from freezing around great log fires, the drum beat 
the officers' call at regimental headquarters. Lieut. C. V Morris, 
who was a prominent member of the church at home and had 
always been a very faithful and obedient officer, said, "Now, I 
wonder what that means ? It can't be to go in this bad weather 
and tear up the rest of that railroad." "Yes," I replied, "I guess 
that is it." I went up and it was altogether a different matter. 
It was with reference to having the men all vaccinated, as a case 


of smallpox had occurred in the regiment. When I returned I 
called out to the Lieutenant, saying, "Well, just as you antici- 
pated ; we have to wade the river and finish tearing up the rail- 
road." The Lieutenant's face turned pale and he trembled with 
rage. Said he, "Such outrages will kill all our men; whoever 
heard of such an order before? I have been a faithful and 
obedient soldier ever since I entered the army and would be to 
the end, if treated like a human being, but if they require me to 
wade that river may I be damned if I don't resign right upon the 
bank." Of course he was undeceived after I had my laugh out. 
A mischievous fellow, to emphasize the fun, drew with a pencil 
on pasteboard a picture of Morris standing on the bank of the 
Shenandoah in his shirt-tail with his breeches in one hand and 
his resignation in the other, saying, "I will be damned if I don't 
resign before I will wade it." 

In the latter part of November we marched up the Shenandoah 
Valley and crossed the Blue Ridge at Miles' Gap. While passing 
through it whiskey was obtained from some of the mountaineers 
and several officers and men got drunk, and were rather late in 
reaching camp at the foot of the mountain on the east side. One 
of those was the eccentric Captain Richardson, who swore that 
"this is the largest war I was ever caught out in and therefore if 
I take a drink or two and don't get drunk it is all right." As he 
staggered along the roadway in the rear after he had gotten down 
the mountain he muttered, "The drunken man falleth by the way- 
side, but the sober man passeth over the mountains safely and 
sleepeth in the valley beyond." The march was continued, with 
intervals of camping, resting and preparing rations until we 
reached the neighborhood of Fredericksburg about the 9th of 
December. When marching past that town, but some two or 
three miles from it, to take position on the Confederate right, the 
artillery was firing pretty lively. Burnside had been placed in 
command of the Army of the Potomac and a fight was imminent. 
Major Lowther got sick, as usual, turned over the command of 
the regiment to me and went to the rear. We were placed in 
position between Fredericksburg and Port Royal on the Rappa- 

On the 1 2th of December we heard a terrible cannonading up 
at Fredericksburg. Burnside had bombarded the town from the 
Stafford Heights on the opposite side of the river with his siege 
guns, and after a bloody fight with Barksdale's Mississippi bri- 
gade, which was on duty in the town, had succeeded in laying his 


bridges and was crossing his army. Consequently, very early on 
the 13th we were on the march to Hamilton's Crossing, where 
Jackson formed his lines, one division in the rear of another; 
A. P Hill's first, Early's next, then the Stonewall division, and 
D. H. Hill's constituting the fourth line. No troops on earth, nor 
any number of them, attacking by the front could have driven 
Jackson from that position. 

Early in the afternoon the battle began on that part of the line. 
The Pennsylvania reserves — Meade's division — under the Fed- 
eral General Jackson, led the assault and broke through A. P 
Hill's line and drove Archer's brigade from its position. Trim- 
ble's old brigade was now commanded by Col. Robert F. Hoke, 
of the Twenty-first North Carolina Regiment, he being the only 
colonel present with it. Hoke was ordered in to repair the breach 
in Hill's line. The Fifteenth Alabama was on the right. Col- 
onel Hoke told me that he would maneuver the brigade on my 
regiment. The advance began. There was a halt, then an ad- 
vance, and I was ordered .to support the Thirteenth Georgia Regi- 
ment, then commanded by Colonel Smith, afterwards Governor 
of Georgia. Colonel Hoke, with the other regiments, swept past 
us on the left. I waited over two minutes, and told Colonel 
Smith I was ordered to support him. He replied that he had no 
orders to advance. 

I then marched my regiment by the left flank until I could pass 
the Georgia regiment, and then went by the right flank forward. 
By this time our brigade had met the Federals, and was driving 
them near the edge of the open field some two hundred yards 
ahead. I took the right oblique direction and hurried through 
the woods to my place in line on the right. Just here I saw Gen- 
eral Gregg, of South Carolina, fall. He pulled up, and holding 
to a little tree with his cap in hand, the dying man waved us on- 
ward in the direction of the enemy. As the regiment neared its 
place in line Colonel Hoke ordered a charge, and the brigade 
swept everything before it in handsome style. A great many 
prisoners surrendered in the railroad cut, but we had men in front 
a-going, and there was no halting. The charge was kept up for a 
quarter of a mile, just as though we were going through Burn- 
side's lines to the river, until we reached a ditch and a fence in 
close range of quite a number of Federal batteries, which opened 
on us furiously. Colonel Hoke was riding up the line when a 
piece of shell struck his horse on the head, nearly cutting one ear 


off- This threw the horse to his knees. Hoke fell and one foot 
htmg in the stirrup. The horse rose, frightened and frantic, and 
started to run, dragging Hoke by the foot, when fortunately some 
of die soldiers seized the bridle and released the Colonel from his 
great periL I called his attention at once to a body of troops that 
were rapidly moving to flank us on our right. I learned years 
after the peace that this was the brigade of CoL Tom Bayne, of 
Allegheny, Pennsylvania, with whom I served several years in 
Congress, and who, tired of life, to the great surprise of his 
friends committed suicide in 1890. 

Hoke seemed addled for the moment by his fall, but recovering 
his self-possession somewhat, he ordered me to fall back, which I 
did in good order, considering the quantity of grapeshot the Fed- 
eral artillery threw in among us until we reached the railroad, 
which was sunken and calculated to afford splendid protection, 
and there I halted. Colonel Hoke ordered us to retire to the little 
ditch at the edge of the woods, which we did, but in doing so we 
lost several men. I thought at the time, and have never changed 
my opinion, that it was an error to order us out of that railroad 
cut When we reached the little trench and sat down in it we 
found it so shallow that it afforded a very imperfect protection. 
The Jeff Davis battery of six guns, from Alabama, was in posi- 
tion about ten steps in our rear, and opened fire. 

There we were, right under the muzzles of the guns, and the 
Federals replying with thirty-seven pieces, which made the posi- 
tion of the Fifteenth as perilous and disagreeable as well could be. 
I obtained, after the war, this exact information as to the number 
from Major-General Ayres, of the Union Army, who commanded 
those guns. Some casualties occurred, but not half so many as I 
apprehended. Sergeant Logan of Company I was killed by con- 
cussion. He was not touched at alL During the firing Colonel 
Farno, with the Fifth Louisiana Regiment, came up from the 
rear; but as there was no room in the trench for his men, he re- 
tired to the woods again. When the artillery duel ceased it was 
between sunset and dark. Some time after dark, I suppose be- 
tween 8 and 9 o'clock, a staff officer from General Jackson passed 
along our lines giving orders to regimental commanders to fix bay- 
onets and move forward the moment that the line to the left began 
to move. I ordered bayonets to be fixed and the men to get up 
and stand in line. Within a few minutes I saw the line begin to 
move and ordered the regiment forward. Of course all knew it 


meant an attack with the bayonet in the dark, for it was a dark 
night. It was therefore a desperate and hazardous undertaking. 
Some men remained in the trench until driven out of it, and I 
would have preferred to stay in it myself if I could honorably 
have done so. But it was the duty of every man to obey orders 
and go forward, and I made the unwilling ones keep their places 
in line. 

We had an experience in night fighting at second Manassas 
which was by no means a pleasant one. But just as we crossed 
the railroad we were halted, and occupied the cut that night and 
all the next day. The dead and wounded lay all around us. 
During the night our litter-men were carrying wounded Yankees 
to the rear to be treated by our surgeons. One of them made 
himself known to me as a Mason, which was the only time such a 
thing occurred to me during the war. On hearing the cry of dis- 
tress I took with me Sergeant Norris and went out to our front 
among the dead and wounded, and found the man who cried for 
help. I sent him in charge of Sergeant Reese Norris, who was a 
bright Mason, to our regimental surgeon, who amputated his bro- 
ken leg, and the wounded man died of lockjaw. He was a cap- 
tain in the Pennsylvania reserves. Dr. Aikin, who was also a 
Mason, sent the captain's gold watch and money, by flag of truce, 
to his mother and sister, who subsequently acknowledged the re- 
ceipt of them. Sergeant Norris died in Clarke County, Alabama, 
1898. He was a brave soldier and good man. 

Several of our men were bare-footed, the weather was cold, and 
I ordered them to help themselves to dead men's shoes, and they 
did it. I saw two bare- footed men watching a man who was dy- 
ing, a bullet having passed through his head, and quarreling as 
to which should have his boots when the breath left him. I set- 
tled it by taking his boots, and giving my old shoes to the man 
who had no shoes at all. 

I have been informed that the origin of that night movement 
was with General Jackson. That he set his corps in motion and 
then informed General Lee, who ordered a halt and summoned his 
generals for a consultation, which was held late that night. Jack- 
son slept while other generals gave their opinions, and when all 
were through some one slapped him on the shoulder and said, 
"Now, General, give us your opinion." He yawned, and half 
asleep mumbled out, "Drive them in the river! Drive them in 
the river !" and the sequel proved that he was right. Had Lee's 


whole army advanced to that night attack it would have created 
a panic which would have driven the Federals into the river or 
forced the whole army to have surrendered. It would have been 
a bloody conflict and a great risk, but would have proved an econ- 
omy of human life in the end. The Japanese have won some of 
their greatest successes by night attacks on the Russians. That 
day when Meade's division and its supports were repulsed 
was a great opportunity for Jackson to have made a grand 
counter-assault, but it was lost by delay and awaiting a return 
pi the enemy to renew their attack. All war is destructive 
of human life, and that which is most destructive is soonest 
ended. The general who takes great risks wins great vic- 
tories or suffers disastrous defeat. That is the general for 
the weaker party. The Fabian policy will do for that party, 
or government, which is strongest in numbers and resources. It 
will do for defense when a government is in condition to make 
the contest one of endurance rather than of strategy and pluck. 
Fabius adopted it because he could not cope with Hannibal and 
Rome could endure his ravages until he was exhausted. The 
cautious, safe general never astounds the world nor aAvakes the 
enthusiasm of the people ; he never gains brilliant victories. The 
destructiveness of modern fire-arms makes wars of short duration. 
The first rifle-cannon and the first iron-clad vessel of war were 
put into use by the Confederacy and should be accredited equally 
to the inventive genius of the Southern people and the necessities 
of the situation. The old adage that "Necessity is the mother of 
invention" never was more fully illustrated than was done in a 
hundred instances by the Confederates. Now these inventions 
have been brought to perfection and are the property of every 
nation. The Krupp cannon, the needle gun, the Kragg-Jorgensen 
and the repeating rifle have announced to the world that wars 
must be of short duration. This is a fast age and if men will kill 
each other in wars they must do it quickly. The world cannot 
afford to have its commerce long interfered with by the quarrels 
of any two nations. Look at the Franco-Prussian war, which 
lasted only seven months, and the Russo-Turkish war, which 
lasted but a few months, and the war between Spain and the 
United States, which terminated within three months. 

France thought that her fortifications rendered Paris safe and 
that she was prepared for a siege, but King William, guided by 
Von Moltke, halted his army six miles out of Paris and knocked 
it to pieces with his Krupp guns. The forts in the suburbs between 
the city and the German guns and the gunboats on the Seine were 


impotent , they belonged to a past generation. The guns of Fort 
Valeirian were ineffectual, though it did not surrender until Paris 
fell. So when General Ducro's desperate assault was repulsed by 
the Germans the city was ^fated to surrender. Blessings some- 
times come in disguise or in questionable shapes. The great 
progress of inventions for the destruction of human life is a great 
economy and hence a blessing. 

The battle on Lee's left and left center was furious about the 
base of Mare's Hill and where Gen. Tom Cobb, of Georgia, was 
killed. The Union troops were repulsed at all points and lost 

The reason why General Lee summoned his generals to a 
council of war was that at about dark one of Longstreet's scouts 
captured, on the north side of the river, a courier fresh from 
General Burnside's headquarters bearing orders to Franklin and 
Sumner, commanding two of the grand divisions, or wings, of the 
Federal army, directing them to renew their assaults upon the 
Confederates at daylight the next morning. Longstreet took 
the captured papers to Lee and he summoned Jackson and the 
Hills to a conference. It was there determined that inasmuch as 
the Federals would renew their attack the next morning, which 
the Confederates were in as comfortable a position to receive as 
they could desire, to act on the defensive, and when the assaults 
were repulsed with heavy loss, as they certainly would have been, 
Longstreet was at that very moment to assume the offensive, and 
throw his whole corps against the Federal right, attacking at 
right angles with the river, to seize the town and the pontoon 
bridges, while Jackson's corps, supported by D. H. Hill's division, 
would advance from Hamilton's Crossing and attack the Federal 
line squarely in front and at short range, and Stuart, with his 
horse artillery and several guns of Pendleton's reserve, would 
operate against the Federal left with great vigor from the right 
bank of Massaponix Creek. By this combination it was believed 
that Burnside's army could be destroyed or captured. With this 
understanding they dispersed to their respective headquarters for 
the night. Morning came and no attack; noon and no attack. 
What could it mean ? Burnside's courier, failing to return in a 
reasonable time, another copy of the orders was despatched. 
Sumner and Franklin returned a protest against a renewal of the 
attack as ordered upon the ground that their commands had 


already sustained very severe losses and had accomplished noth- 
ing, that to continue to assault the Confederates in their strong 
defensive positions would destroy the Federal army; that Marye's 
Heights could not be carried except at an immense sacrifice, and 
that the cause of the Union would not be advanced thereby. The 
fact that Sumner, who was always in favor of fighting whenever 
any possible good could be accomplished by it, protested, shook 
Burnside's resolution and he countermanded the order. At mid- 
day, despairing of the Federal advance, Lee assembled his gen- 
erals, when a resolve was very soon reached to attack the enemy 
at once — as soon as dispositions could be made in accordance with 
the plan agreed upon the night before, with this addition : It 
was feared that the numerous artillery on Stafford Heights would 
pour a very destructive fire across the river on Jackson's corps as 
it advanced through the open fields and lowlands to the assault 
of the Federal lines. It was known that some heavy guns were 
then on the way from Richmond by railroad and their arrival was 
hourly expected. It was therefore agreed that Jackson should 
receive and put them in position, and the first one that opened fire 
should be the signal for Longstreet to move. It was thought that 
these guns would so distract the fire of the Federal artillery as 
to prevent a concentration of it upon Jackson's troops. The guns 
arrived, but so late that with all the energy which Jackson was 
able to infuse and the greatest exertion of those in charge of 
them, it took until night to get them in position, when it was 
deemed too late to begin the attack. The Federal army was still 
there in position on the south side of the river. General Lee said 
they certainly would not retreat without further effort in their 
advance on Richmond and hence he deemed it safe to delay his 
attack until morning. All that day they were maneuvering and 
looking at us, making us believe they were going to attack. A 
little sharp-shooting and artillery firing occurred on our lines, but 
no general engagement. 

The night of the 14th, having remained on the firing line since 
the day before, we were relieved and went back on the hill and 
camped in the woods. It rained and snowed all night. The 
morning of the 15th was foggy. When it lifted the fact was 
revealed that Burnside had enough of it the first day and his army 
was now safe on Stafford Heights across the river, under the 
protection of his heavy siege guns, and Lee had lost his greatest 
opportunity Thus ended the battle of Fredericksburg, and a 


more complete failure was not made by any general on either side 
during the war than this of Burnside's. His army numbered 
1 17,000 and Lee's 78,000. Casualties in Burnside's, 12,653 men; 
in Lee's, 5,322. 

The charge of the old brigade on the 13th made Hoke a 
brigadier and afterwards, by his gallantry, he won his spurs and 
his commission as a major-general. The loss of the regiment at 
Fredericksburg was not heavy — 3 killed and 30 wounded. 

This closed the campaign of 1862 in Virginia. The Confed- 
erates had sustained their cause most gallantly. They had beaten 
the armies of the Union under Generals Milroy, Banks, Fremont, 
Shields, McClellan, Pope and Burnside, and in every battle they 
had done so with greatly inferior numbers, except second Manas- 
sas, where the disparity was not very great. In only one instance 
had they retired from the field before their adversaries. That was 
Antietam, or Sharpsburg, and that was not a Union victory; it 
was a drawn battle. Nothing substantial was accomplished on 
either side by these battles toward a settlement of the great ques- 
tion involved. 

On the 15th of December it was manifest that the fighting had 
terminated, for next day we were marched down the river again 
to within about three miles of Port Royal, where we went into 
winter quarters and spent the remainder of the year 1862. About 
two days in the week the Fifteenth did picket duty at Port Royal, 
but that was all the duty required. 

The men of that regiment, and in fact the brigade, were surely 
entitled to a good rest in the closing days of the year; they had 
earned it as fully as a citizen soldiery, or regulars, ever did. 
Starting from Manassas Junction in the early days of March, 
those men had marched to the Rappahannock, then to Gordon's 
Mills, then to Stanardsville, then across the Blue Ridge at Stan- 
ard's Gap to Hawksbill Valley, then to near Harrisonburg and 
back to Hawksbill, then down the Shenandoah to Front Royal, 
then to Winchester, then to Halltown near Harper's Ferry, back 
to Winchester, then to Strasburg, then five miles up the Romney 
Road and returned to Strasburg, then up the Valley to Harrison- 
burg, then to Cross Keys and to Port Republic, and then to Weir's 
Cave, then via Charlottesville to Gaines's Mill, Cold Harbor, 
Frazier's Farm, Malvern Hill, Harrison's Landing, and then to 
Gordonsville, then to Slaughter's Mountain and return, then to 
Hazel River, and thence via Thoroughfare Gap and Gainesville 


to Bristow Station and the Junction, thence to second Manassas, 
then to Chantilly Farm via Little River Turnpike, and thence via 
White's Ford on the Potomac to Frederick City, Md., and thence 
via Williamsport and Martinsburg to Harper's Ferry, and thence 
to Shepherdstown and again across to Maryland, and then 
returned via Winchester and Miles' Gap down to Fredericksburg, 
and thence down the Rappahannock a few miles to Port Royal. 
The Sixteenth Mississippi Regiment was in the brigade until after 
the Valley Campaign, when it was transferred to a State brigade 
and the Twelfth Georgia took its place in our brigade. During 
the year the old brigade had marched more than one thousand 
miles and fought in seventeen engagements. Old friends and 
comrades were to be separated and thereafter to serve in new 
organizations of State brigades. 



Transferred From Jackson's Corps to Longstreet's— Scarcity of Rations- 
Apprehension That the Next Assault on Richmond Would Be From the 
South Side— Two Divisions Sent Below Richmond— The Suffolk Cam- 
paign—The Duel at Suffolk— Why Longstreet Did Not Return to Lee's 
Aid in the Battle of Chancellorsville— Some Regimental Changes— A 
Pleasant Situation. 

About the middle of January, 1863, the old brigade was dis- 
solved. I was ordered to report with the Fifteenth Alabama to 
Brigadier-General E. M. Law, then encamped southwest of Fred- 
ericksburg on the Catharpin Road. Accordingly, we bid adieu 
to our old comrades and marched to take our place in a. new 
brigade under the law requiring State troops to be brigaded 
together. While it was advantageous in some respects, I always 
thought that policy a very questionable one. After 3 pretty fair 
day's march I reached Law's headquarters and was assigned a 
camping ground. The new brigade was composed of he Fourth, 
Fifteenth, Forty-fourth, Forty-seventh and Forty-eighfh Alabama 
regiments. While here there came a heavy snow and the soldiers. 
as many of them will remember, fought a great battle with snow- 
balls. At this camp was the first time I ever saw General Long- 
street to know him. He rode up and ordered me to have a log 
cut out of the road, which had fallen across it beyond my camp. 
His uniform was concealed beneath his great coat and I inquired 
for his authority to order me and be very politely replied, "I am 
General Longstreet." He at that time was very popular with the 
army, but not like Jackson. The greatest regret the officers and 
men of the regiment felt at leaving the old brigade was that the 
transfer took us out of Jackson's and put us in Longstreet's corps. 
With "Old Stonewall" we had never known defeat. Now we 
were to fight under new officers and alongside of new comrades. 
While at this camp I was appointed division field officer of the 
day and had to report to Major-General Hood, in whose division 


we now were. This was my first acquaintance with him. Early 
in February we marched with Hood's division to and beyond 
Richmond and went into camp some three miles south of the city 
on the Petersburg Road. There were two reasons for this move. 
Lee apprehended that the next move on Richmond might be via 
Petersburg, and the other was the scarcity of rations in the army, 
and by sending these two divisions of troops south of Richmond 
they could obtain supplies from the country toward Suffolk, Va. 

We remained here until the latter part of the month, when, 
from some cause unknown, we were marched through Richmond 
as far north as Ashland in a snowstorm and then were about-faced 
and marched back again. It was reported to have been from an 
apprehension upon the part of General Lee that an attack was 
about to be made on him. 

As we went forward the general impression was that we were 
going to the Rappahannock to participate in a battle, and I think 
there was a considerable raid of the Federal cavalry. One man 
in the regiment shot one of his toes off, evidently to keep out of 
the fight and to get a furlough. I ordered him to keep in line 
and made him march all day with his company just as though he 
had not shot himself. It was a just punishment, but he had to 
be sent to the hospital at Richmond. 

On the return I think it was the worst marching I ever saw 
during the war. It sleeted and rained just enough to make slush 
of the heavy snow and a cold north wind was blowing all the time. 
Where we camped the night of the day we turned back, Dr. Aiken, 
of Kentucky (at that time surgeon of the regiment), and myself 
slept on the top of a heap of blackjack brush. It rained all night 
and I never slept so soundly and so sweetly upon a spring bed as, 
with two blankets around me, I slept that night upon brush. It 
was about the only chance to keep out of the mud and water, 
which was shoe-mouth deep everywhere. The men, poor fellows, 
lay about on logs, brush or a few chunks of wood, and some stood 
around the fire all night. Next morning we resumed our march, 
passed through Richmond and soon reached our old camp, where 
we remained for several weeks. While here Capt. George Y 
Malone, of Company F, and Capt. Lee Bryant (after the war a 
citizen or subject of Brazil) were placed on the retired list on 
account of wounds received in battle. 

In March we moved to Petersburg and camped for two weeks 
and in April went to Suffolk and besieged the place. Longstreet 


commanded the expedition and his force consisted of Hood's and 
Pickett's divisions and Pryor's brigade. Longstreet drove the 
Federals into their fortifications and placed a battery so as to 
command the Nansemond River. With the Fifteenth, the front 
covered by my company as skirmishers, we drove the Federals into 
their forts on the western side, where there was a water mill. 
Deployed as skirmishers I advanced my company through a new 
ground, taking shelter behind stumps and logs. The fort on the 
hill beyond the mill shelled us severely. One shell exploded in a 
brush heap and sent the brush flying. There was an Irishman 
named McArdle behind a stump near by. He called to his right- 
hand man, "Tarn, O Tarn, they flung a big one which lit in that 
brush heap, an' jest where he lit, he busted." I said, "Barney, 
get down behind that stump or the next shell may get you." He 
replied, "No, sor; lightning niver strikes twice in th' same place." 
He turned to me, and drawing out an old pipe, said, "Cap'n, I 
want to be afther borrowin' th' loan av the fill o' me pipe," utterly 
oblivious of the bursting shells. 

We were soon after moved around on the north side of the 
town, where we had long protracted and sometimes very heavy 
skirmish fighting and artillery firing, but never did have a general 
engagement. The expedition enabled the Confederates to forage 
the country and get all the supplies out of it, but beyond this there 
were no practical results. One night, when the Fifty-fifth North 
Carolina Regiment, Colonel Connelly, was on duty at the river 
battery, the Federals landed a strong force, which drove away the 
regiment and captured the Confederate guns, which, of course, 
raised the blockade of the river. The next day I was at Law's 
headquarters. It was the talk all over the army that Colonel 
Connelly's regiment had behaved badly the night before. Colonel 
Connelly rode up and said to Law : "General, I understand that 
you have reported that my regiment acted cowardly last night and 
fled before the enemy without fighting and in violation of orders; 
I wish to know if you so stated." Law replied, "I stated, Colonel, 
that Captains Terrell and Cussons, of my staff, so reported to 

me." Connelly then said, "Well, it is a d d lie, and I will see 

them about it." He sprang from his horse and went to the tent 
where the captains were. Law and myself followed. Terrell 
admitted he had made the report and declined to retract or modify 
it. The Colonel then turned to Cussons, who was a tall, long- 
haired, wild-looking, unnaturalized Englishman, who had been 


an adventurer in the gold diggings of California. The men used 
to call him Law's wild man. He said, "Captain, did you also 
make that report?" Cussons, in the blandest possible manner, 
with a smile, replied, "No, Colonel, I did not ; but I will tell you 
what I now say: That if you gave your men orders to retire 
when the enemy appeared in their front, they obeyed orders d— d 
promptly last night." Said the irate Colonel, "I hold you respon- 
sible sir, for that remark." Cussons responded with a low bow, 
"All right, Colonel, I will be most happy to accommodate you." 
The Colonel then remounted and rode away. Within some thirty 
minutes Major Belo, of the same regiment, returned with chal- 
lenges for each of the captains, which were promptly accepted. 
The Major then, in a very polite manner, informed Cussons that 
he thought it his duty to meet him instead of his colonel, which 
seemed perfectly satisfactory to Cussons, or, in other words, he 
manifested a reckless indifference whom he was to shoot or who 
was to shoot him. I have seen him passing along the front of a 
Federal picket or skirmish line for half a mile or more with them 
shooting at him all the way and he never seemed to pay any 
attention to it. He appeared oblivious of danger. 

The time, place and weapons were agreed upon. The parties 
and a few friends met in an old field a half mile or more to the 
northward and in rear of our camps. The Colonel and Terrell 
were to use double-barrel shot guns, loaded with balls, at forty 
yards; the Major and Cussons, Mississippi rifles, at the same 
distance. The two matches, or teams, were to engage in their 
sport at the same time, about one hundred and fifty yards apart. 
The Major and Cussons fired at the word and missed. The 
weapons were reloaded by the seconds and at the word both fired 
again. The Major was seen to wince, but stood erect. Cussons 
remarked, "Major, this is d — d poor shooting we are doing today. 
If we don't do better than this we will never kill any Yankees." 
Just then Belo's second discovered the blood running down his 
back. Cussons last shot had cut a gash across the back of the 
Major's neck. But he stood firm for another fire, when a messen- 
ger from the other combatants prevented it. As the weapons 
were handed to the Colonel and Terrell and the word was about 
to be given, Connelly's second requested a parley. Terrell's 
second met him half way, and after the interchange of views, 
Connelly's second unconditionally withdrew the challenge, which 
of course resulted in a settlement of the matter. Cussons and 



Belo mutually advanced, met each other and shook hands, each 
expressing his gratification that no serious damage had been done. 

Cussons, in 1864, married a widow who resided a few miles 
north of Richmond, at a beautiful place called Glenallen, and quit 
the service. He could not be compelled to serve, as he was a 
subject of Queen Victoria. At the battle of Gettysburg he was 
captured, taken north and imprisoned in Fort Delaware, but they 
could not hold him. He either scratched under or climbed over 
the prison walls and escaped, made his way into the Confederate 
lines and to the house of the charming widow, which he at once 
made his home. He lived happily with her at Glenallen until 
her death in 1900. He was living at the same place when this 
book was published. 

Terrell was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the Forty-seventh 
Alabama Regiment on the petition of officers and men. He was 
mortally wounded October 7 while leading his regiment in a 
charge on horseback, with the colors in hand, and died a few days 

Colonel Connelly, who had placed his character for courage at 
a decided disadvantage and in fact at a discount, in the affair with 
Terrell, at Gettysburg displayed conspicuous gallantry and lost an 
arm while leading his regiment in a desperate charge. 

Major Belo succeeded Connelly as colonel of the regiment and 
was a most excellent and gallant officer. He was wounded once 
or twice severely and was, up to his death in 1901, an esteemed 
citizen of Texas and proprietor of the Galveston News, the lead- 
ing newspaper of that State. 

Colonel Connelly after the war married a wealthy girl in Rich- 
mond, Va., and became a distinguished Baptist preacher. 

The losses of the regiment at Suffolk were not great — some less 
than at Fredericksburg. 

On the 30th of April, 1863, Longstreet received orders from 
Lee to join him at Fredericksburg as soon as possible. He replied 
that his foraging train of wagons was miles away on the coast, 
gathering supplies, and if he left them they would be captured. 
On the 1st of May he received another urgent order, to which he 
made the same reply, and asked if he should abandon his foragers, 
but he says that he received no reply. On the 3d, evidently for 
the purpose of holding us there and preventing Longstreet from 
reenforcing Lee, the Yankees made an assault on our lines in a 
heavy and protracted skirmish, which continued nearly all day, 
and in this several casualties occurred. 


We were more than one hundred and fifty miles from Freder- 
icksburg. We marched rapidly a part of the way and went by 
railroad a part, and reached Whitehall, about midway between 
Richmond and Fredericksburg, on the night of the 5th of May. 
We learned on the way that Hooker had been beaten by Lee and 
had recrossed the Rappahannock. But the immortal Stonewall 
Jackson was killed or mortally wounded, which made it a dearly- 
bought victory for the Confederacy. Every battle our regiment 
had fought was under Jackson. This was his first battle after we 
left his corps and his last one. 

On the 6th of May, 1863, we began to make our camps com- 
fortable for a considerable stay. Capt. I. B. Feagin, when he 
returned in February, found that charges had been preferred 
against him by Gen. D. H. Hill, and consequently I retained com- 
mand of the regiment for a short time — until he could be tried, 
which was not long delayed. I was judge advocate of the court- 
martial, and as soon as the witnesses were heard I made a state- 
ment in his favor and he was honorably acquitted by the unani- 
mous vote of the members of the court. From his acquittal he 
had been in command and I had been assisting him. My recollec- 
tion is that this was in the latter part of March while we were in 
camp at Petersburg. 

While in camp at Whitehall I was, with his consent, appointed 
colonel in the Provisional Army, C. S. A., and assigned by order 
to the command of the old regiment, and Feagin was appointed 
lieutenant-colonel of the regiment. Generals Law and Hood had 
determined, as Major Lowther remained absent so continuously, 
and he now the only field officer, that the vacancies should be 
filled by the captains who had so long performed the duties of 
colonel and lieutenant-colonel. Colonel Canty, our old colonel, 
had been made a brigadier-general. Colonel Treutlin had resigned 
and the major had not been in battle with the regiment since Hazel 
River, on the 22d of August, 1862. Absent on the sick list was 
the way he was reported. Feagin ranked me as captain, but waived 
that and said he wanted no higher position nor greater responsi- 
bility than that of lieutenant-colonel, and that he had rather serve 
under me than to command the regiment. He and I were good 
friends and messed together as long as he was thereafter with the 
regiment. He was a gallant soldier and gentleman and such he 
continued so long as he lived. He died near Union Springs, Ala., 
in 1 90 1. On my promotion C. V Morris became first, Henry C. 


Brainard second, and my brother, John A. Oates, third lieutenant. 
About this time Morris was made regimental commissary with 
the rank of captain, consequently Brainard became captain of my 
old company, Oates first lieutenant, Barnett Cody second and T. 
M. Renfroe third lieutenant. Lieut. R. E. Wright became cap- 
tain of Feagin's old company and was immediately retired on 
account of the severe wounds which he received at the second 
battle of Manassas. Noah B. Feagin, a gallant boy, was made 
captain, with Lieutenants Glover and Gary, which were deemed 
enough for the size of that company then. Captain Feagin sur- 
vived the war and for many years was judge of the inferior court 
in Birmingham, Ala., and still holds that position at the time this 
book is published. 

While at this camp the men of the Fifteenth first considered 
their right to vote, which the legislature had attempted to secure 
to them by statute.* Pugh, Wiley, Jones and Starke were candi- 
dates for a seat in the Confederate Congress, which was then 
filled by Pugh, from the district in which the regiment was raised. 
The soldiers held a convention and nominated me, but I declined 
in Pugh's favor, for which he wrote me and said it was a feather 
in my cap for the future ; that he was profoundly grateful and 
would forever be my friend, which was never emphatically veri- 
fied. It was a Roman adage that "times change and we change 
with them." Pugh was elected, served in the Confederate Con- 
gress to the surrender and years after the peace was elected to 
and served sixteen years in the United States Senate, but at last 
forgot his early gratitude, or assurance thereof, to his friend. 

After remaining several days at Whitehall we marched to the 
Rapidan River. The division generally went into camps some 
two miles from that river ; but I was ordered with my regiment 
first to Morton's Ford, where we remained about a day or two, 
until I was ordered to move up the river and encamp at a point 
convenient to Porter's Ford and to keep a strong picket at the 
ford, with instructions to resist to the utmost any efforts of the 

* Note. — The legislature passed an act to allow the Alabama soldiers to 
vote, but the act did not avoid Section 5, Article 3, of the State Constitution, 
then in force, which required the voter to vote in the county of his residence. 
Most of the States of the Union having a similar constitutional provision 
passed acts for appointment of a commission^ from each county to visit the 
soldiers, receive their ballots in a box, take them to the county of the soldier's 
residence, and there count them. So their soldiers were allowed to vote while 
ours were not. 


Federals to cross the river at that point. Here we were most 
pleasantly situated. We encamped in a beautiful grove a half 
mile in rear of the ford. The Porter family, whose residence was 
on the south bank of the river, was among the best in Virginia, 
and Miss Fannie was a charming young lady, and entertained me 
with her sweetest songs in my daily visits to the house. I would 
have been willing to have remained at that camp to the close of 
the war. Wonder what ever became of Miss Fannie ? 

The whole regiment liked that camp. However, our pleasant 
situation did not continue long, as we broke camp early in June 
and crossed the Rapidan. As I looked back upon that happy 
retreat where I had enjoyed so many good dinners and such sweet 
music, I fully realized the meaning of Burns when he wrote : 

"But pleasures are like poppies spread, 
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed ; 
Or, like the snow, falls in the river, 
A moment white, then melts forever." 

We were marched down in the fork of the Rappahannock and 
Rapidan and made a demonstration as though intending to cross 
the former and attack Hooker. I was ordered to take the regi- 
ment, after nightfall, to a position at a ford and at daylight next 
morning to charge across the Rappahannock and kill, capture or 
drive away a regiment which occupied an old canal on the opposite 
bank, for the purpose of effecting a crossing. I took the position, 
made ready and just before day I was withdrawn. A battery of 
General Alexander's artillery was in position on a hill in my rear 
to support me in the movement. Had General Lee persisted in 
this movement there would not have occurred the battle of Gettys- 
burg. I knew not why I was withdrawn, except that the move- 
ment was abandoned. The next day, however, we retraced our 
steps and went into camp between Stevensburg and Culpeper 
Court House. 



Hooker in Command of the Army of the Potomac — Jackson Turns Hooker's 
Flank — The Death of "Stonewall" Jackson — Stuart Requested by Jackson 
to Take Command of His Corps — Chancellorsville the Most Remarkable 
Battle of the War — Sketch of General Jackson — Lee's Order Announcing 
Jackson's Death. 

In the early months of 1863 Burnside was relieved and Gen- 
eral Joe Hooker was put in command of the Army of the Poto- 
mac. He reorganized the army, did away with the cumbrous 
"grand division," and organized seven army corps. He worked 
diligently in the reorganization, equipment and strengthening of 
his army. 

Hooker's army lay on the north side of the Rappahannock and 
extended for miles along that stream. Lee's army was scattered 
along the south side of the river confronting Hooker's. On the 
28th of April the Federals laid a pontoon bridge across the river 
a short distance above the town of Fredericksburg and crossed 
troops under General Sedgwick to the extent of 30,000, who re- 
mained under the high banks of the river out of range of the Con- 
federate artillery. They were inactive and waiting Hooker's 
movements up the river. On that day and the next he crossed 
at the Germania and U. S. Mine fords 90,000 men, which force 
he concentrated at Chancellorsville on May 1. His cavalry- 
passed the Rapidan between there and Gordonsville and made a 
detour to try to reach Lee's rear and cut his communications, but 
was met by Stuart and the effort rendered abortive. Lee sent 
Anderson and McLaws with their divisions in the direction of 
Chancellorsville, and Jackson followed with all of his corps except 
Early's division, which with Barksdale's brigade and a part of 
General Pendleton's reserve artillery were left under Early to 
hold the lines and Marye's Hill against any movement of Sedg- 
wick, whose inactivity Lee construed as a menace to him in front 
while Hooker with his immense army attacked the Confederate 


left flank and rear. Lee with all his other troops moved in the 
direction of Chancellorsville and met Hooker's advance some two 
or three miles down the Fredericksburg Road, which he at once 
attacked and drove back on the main body at Chancellorsville. 
This was on the ist day of May, 1863. That afternoon Lee dis- 
covered that Hooker had fortified his line very strongly and 
would not risk an assault. Skirmishing went on in a scattering, 
perfunctory way. Lee, with Jackson present, had his map spread 
before him on the ground, trying to discover a way to get at 
Hooker's right flank. His left was fortified by a rifle pit almost 
at right angles to the front. On Jackson's staff there was a 
preacher who was acquainted with all the roads through the Wil- 
derness. Lee asked him if he knew any way that a heavy column 
of men could march unobserved by the left around to and across 
the Plank Road to the enemy's rear, and he answered that he did. 
Lee replied, "Then, General Jackson, you will have him to guide 
you, turn the enemy's right, and strike him in the rear." Jack- 
son at once gave orders for his troops to be ready to move 
promptly at four o'clock in the morning. Lee, Jackson, and their 
staff officers then spread their blankets on the ground under some 
trees and were soon asleep. 

Next morning Jackson's troops were in motion at the hour 
named. Stuart and Fitzhugh Lee, with the latter's brigade of 
cavalry, kept between Jackson's column and their enemy to con- 
ceal the movement. Lee's entire force was in round numbers 
but 60,000 men. Ten thousand of these he had left with Early 
to hold in check 30,000 under Sedgwick. Right in the face of 
Hooker, with 90,000 men concentrated and partially fortified, 
Lee divided his force and sent Jackson with 25,000 to turn Hook- 
er's flank and strike him in the rear, with the understanding that 
when he heard the guns of Jackson's battle he would attack in 
front. When Jackson moved, Lee had immediately with him 
but 12,000 infantry and 20 pieces of artillery. Colonel Hamlin, 
of Maine, who was an officer in Hooker's army, and who was a 
son of the Vice-President of the United States, and an accom- 
plished gentleman, says in a pamphlet account he wrote of the 
battle, years after the war, that in round numbers Hooker had 
120,000 and Lee but 60,000 men of all arms, just one half the 
number of the former, and official reports prove that his state- 
ment is substantially correct. After a circuitous march of fifteen 
miles Jackson's column crossed the Plank Road. He was carried 


to an eligible point by Fitzhugh Lee or Stuart, and shown How- 
ard's whole corps, with arms stacked, behind the rifle pits, some 
of the men lying on the ground asleep, some playing cards, and a 
number killing and butchering beeves, not dreaming an enemy 
was near or that they were in the slightest danger. Von Gilsia, 
a German, whose brigade was on the extreme right, discovered 
some rebels cross the Plank Road and disappear in the woods. 
He sent in a report, but it was not believed. He discovered other 
rebels and rode rapidly to corps headquarters and reported it. 
They told him he was a fool, or crazy, and that there were no 
rebels there. Von Gilsia rode back, and very soon he and his 
brigade were veritable flying Dutchmen. 

Being well in the rear, Jackson formed his lines of battle. 
Rodes's division was the first line, Colston's the second, and A. P 
Hill's the third, and thus formed, with the artillery properly dis- 
tributed, a rapid advance began. Howard's corps was put to 
flight at once, and the Federal line was rolled up like a screen, 
until darkness and the confusing and intermingling of Rodes's 
and Colston's troops rendered a halt necessary. This was just 
after eight o'clock in the evening. Jackson then ordered Hill to 
bring his division to the front, and rode with Hill and his staff 
down an old road which led to the junction of the roads from the 
two fords at which Hooker had crossed the river, where the divi- 
sion would form line of battle, at what was called the "White 
House," squarely in the rear of Hooker's army. It was less than 
six hundred yards distant. Jackson had not ridden more than 
two hundred yards of this distance when he heard voices and dis- 
covered that they were Federal troops. He rode back, accom- 
panied by his staff officers. The skirmishers in front of the Eigh- 
teenth North Carolina Regiment of Lane's brigade mistook him 
and those who accompanied him for Federal cavalry, and fired on 
them. One of the staff officers was killed and two others 
wounded. Jackson himself was wounded. He wheeled into the 
woods on his left and received two other wounds. His horse ran 
under the limb of a tree, which nearly dragged him from the sad- 
dle. His horse was caught, and he taken off. The Federals just 
then made a rush and drove the Confederates a short distance, 
so that Jackson was for a few minutes within their lines, but they 
did not recognize him. Hill's division drove them back. Jack- 
son was placed on a litter and taken to the rear, but before pro- 
ceeding far one of the litter bearers was shot down and the Gen- 


eral received a hard fall, at which he groaned, but made no other 
complaint. At or about the time Jackson fell, Hill was wounded. 
After Jackson was wounded, General Pender said to him, "Gen- 
eral, I doubt my ability to hold my position." Jackson replied, 
"You must hold it, sir," which was the last command he ever 

These casualties caused the Confederate lines to halt where 
they were for the night. Colonel Hamlin calls attention to the 
circumstance that Lee did not assault Hooker's front when Jack- 
son's battle began. He says that Lee did not hear Jackson's guns. 
He also says that Hooker, whose headquarters were at Chan- 
cellorsville, did not hear Jackson's guns, nor those on his own 
line upon his right, and attributes the fact to the peculiar condi- 
tion of the atmosphere that afternoon. It was still, inelastic, and 
did not transmit sounds as usual. General Lee received the news 
just after midnight, and of course would have been greatly elated 
with Jackson's success, but for the wounds he had received. He 
seemed deeply affected, and exclaimed, "Jackson has lost his left 
arm, and I have lost my right." 

Jackson requested General Stuart to take command of his 
corps, as he had faith in his judgment and capacity and knew that 
hard fighting was to be done the next day. Brigadier-General 
Rodes was the ranking officer with the corps after Hill was dis- 
abled. Stuart began the attack early Sunday morning, May 3, 
and Lee at once advanced his lines, and soon the two corps were 
united and drove Hooker from the field. He halted nearer the 
crossing on the river and formed new lines. News came to Lee 
that Sedgwick had advanced, driven Early from his position, 
taken Marye's Hill and several pieces of artillery, and was advanc- 
ing toward Chancellorsville to take him in the rear. He there- 
upon ordered Anderson's and McLaws's divisions to wove toward 
Fredericksburg — McLaws along the River Road to reenforce 
Wilcox, whose brigade was fighting and obstructing all that it 
could Sedgwick's advance. Anderson was ordered to move along 
the Wire Road nearly parallel with the River Road, and attack 
Sedgwick's flank, while Early might close in on his rear. Sedg- 
wick soon saw his danger and retreated. Early resumed his 
former position. Lee returned with his troops, made his dispo- 
sitions, and advanced on Hooker on the 5th, and soon saw 
"Fighting Joe," as he was called, again on the north side of the 


This was the most remarkable battle ever fought on this hemis- 
phere — the Union army with the best appliances, arms, and 
munitions which the world afforded at that day and double the 
number of the Confederates; the latter poorly supplied and 
equipped for such a trial of strength and courage, yet after a 
fair field every Confederate drove two Union men, or in that 
ratio, back to the northern side of the Rappahannock. The Con- 
federate losses were nearly 12,000 officers and men. Federal 
losses were 17,000, and including the killed and wounded of 
Sedgwick's command, about 20,000. 

In his official report General Lee said : 

About 5,000 prisoners, exclusive of the wounded, were taken ; 13 pieces of 
artillery, 19,500 stands of arms, 17 colors, and a large quantity of ammunition. 

When the Confederates were driving the Union men from the 
field the next day after Jackson was wounded, he sent a note to 
Lee congratulating him on his great victory. It was received on 
the field amid the whistling and explosion of shells and the roar- 
ing flames of the burning buildings. Lee, with a voice broken 
with emotion, said to Colonel Long, of his staff, "Say to General 
Jackson that the victory is his and that the congratulations are 
due to him." 

Thomas Jonathan Jackson, a poor, penniless youth, was ap- 
pointed a cadet to the United States Military Academy at West 
Point when seventeen years old, and by diligent study graduated 
at the age of twenty-one and was commissioned as lieutenant in 
the artillery. Soon afterwards, in the war with Mexico, for his 
conspicuous gallantry and efficiency in that arm of the service, he 
was promoted to a captaincy. In several of the battles he was 
so efficient in advancing his guns with the infantry that he was 
brevetted major. After the war in a few years he tired of the 
quiet itinerant life of a professional soldier and resigned. Some 
time after he secured employment as a teacher in the Military 
Academy of Virginia. No one ever discovered in him any abil- 
ity which attracted attention, and on account of his eccentricities 
some of those who knew him used to speak of him as that "digni- 
fied fool Tom Jackson." He was sociable when approached, but 
usually austere, and quite religious — a regular blue-stocking 

The war came on and he was elected colonel of the Fourth Vir- 
ginia Regiment of infantry, and when President Davis appointed 


him a brigadier-general it provoked laughter among those who 
thought that they knew him well. But at the first battle of 
Manassas, when he and his brigade stood as a "Stonewall" and 
proved to be a breakwater to the billows of McDowell's legions 
and hurled them back broken, bleeding, and dying, the people 
saw that this dry, eccentric Presbyterian was a military genius. 
Then he was made a major-general and sent to command in the 
Valley. His efficiency and activity invited them, and reenforce- 
ments were sent him in the early spring of 1862, and then fol- 
lowed that brilliant campaign which was a companion-piece, 
both in strategy and execution, to Napoleon's campaign in Italy. 
In five weeks he drove from the Valley of Virginia four armies, 
the smallest of which was as large as his own, and his captures 
were almost beyond computation. Then when McDowell was 
marching against him he passed toward Richmond to the south 
of McDowell, and directed by the guiding hand of Lee struck 
McClellan in the rear at Cold Harbor and caused that alert gen- 
eral to change his base. He was now a corps commander, and his 
course was onward and upward to the end. He was not egotis- 
tical and never volunteered opinions or advice to his superior in 
rank. If he were ambitious he kept it to himself and never gave 
vent to any desire of the kind. His whole soul, mind, and 
strength were addressed to the discharge of duty. He received 
his orders without question or comment, and executed them to 
the letter with superb ability. Lee told him what he wished done, 
leaving the details and manner of doing to him, and without 
doubt or question it was done as speedily as possible. When he 
fell, well might Lee exclaim that he had lost his right arm. 

Jackson was a very high combination of strategic and tactical 
powers. He had no superior in executive ability. General Tay- 
lor truly said that as "Stonewall" never had command of a de- 
partment, or independent army, that there was no means T>y 
which his ability as a general could be measured — all that could 
be said was that Jackson was a success everywhere he had been 
tried. He inspired his men with blind confidence and they would 
go with great alacrity anywhere he ordered them, believing im- 
plicitly that they were going to success, without knowing their 
destination. He declared that he would never die by the bullets 
of the enemy. He fell by those of his own devoted and idolizing 
soldiers. He believed in predestination and said on his death- 


bed that it was all right, and quietly passed into the great and 
unknown beyond. 

It is said that in 1864, when General Grant was about to cross 
his immense army over the Rapidan, that he dined at the house 
of an old Virginia lady, who fell into conversation with the Gen- 
eral and ventured to ask him where he was going, and he replied 
he was going to one of three places, to wit : "To Richmond, to 
Heaven, or hell." The old lady replied, "Well, General, you 
can't go to Richmond, for General Lee is there, he will not admit 
you ; you can't go to Heaven, for Stonewall Jackson is there and 
would not let you in. I am sorry to say that there is no chance 
for you to keep out of the bad place — you must therefore have 
your third choice." But subsequent events proved to the old lady 
her mistaken conclusions. Grant got to Richmond at least. 

The following is General Lee's order on the death of Jackson: 

General Order No. 61 

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, 

May ii, 1863. 

With deep regret the commanding general announces to the army the death 
of Lieut. -Gen. T. J. Jackson, who expired on the 10th inst, at a quarter past 
three P M. The daring, skill, and energy of this great and good soldier, by 
the decree of an all-wise Providence are now lost to us. But while we mourn 
his death, we feel that his spirit still lives and will inspire the whole army 
with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God as our hope 
and strength. Let his name be a watchword to his corps, who have followed 
him to victory on so many fields. Let his officers and soldiers emulate his 
invincible determination to do everything in the defense of our beloved 

R. E. Lee, 





The Invasion of Pennsylvania and Its Objects — Preparations for the Inva- 
sion — Summary of Commands in the Confederate Army of Invasion — 
Why Stuart and His Cavalry Were Not With Lee — General Longstreet's 
Views — Incidents of the March Into Pennsylvania — Lee's Plans — The 
Advantage With the Confederates at the Close of the First Day — Two 
Supposed Dead Men Hold a Joyous Reunion — A Young Hero's Death. 

The military situation after the battle of Chancellorsville, Va., 
early in May, 1863, was that while Richmond was in no immediate 
danger, the Confederacy was in danger of bisection. At this time 
the Confederates held the Mississippi River at Vicksburg and 
Port Hudson and between these points, but the Union troops and 
gunboats had complete possession above and below. Grant soon 
had Pemberton, with 30,000 Confederate soldiers, cooped up in 
Vicksburg, was investing the place and tightening his grasp upon 
it. Mr. Davis held a conference with his Cabinet, Generals Lee, 
Longstreet and others as to the best way to relieve Vicksburg. 
Longstreet was in favor of transferring his troops to the West and 
collecting an army large enough to cope with Grant, draw him 
away and relieve Vicksburg in that way. Lee favored the invasion 
of Pennsylvania, to let the people of that State feel the scourge of 
war and imperil the Capital at Washington, which he believed 
would cause such a withdrawal of troops from Grant's army to 
send against his and protect Washington as to raise the siege and 
relieve Vicksburg. Mr. Davis adopted it and ordered the cam- 

Subsequently General Longstreet says in his book that Lee told 
him that his campaign would be an offensive-defensive one ; that 
he then assured Lee of his hearty co-operation and belief in his 

Preparations for the invasion proceeded rapidly. General Lee 
reviewed Stuart's cavalry corps on John Minor Botts's plantation, 
near Culpeper Court House. It was a beautiful sight. General 


Stuart, a very handsome man, elegantly attired and mounted on 
one of the fleetest and most beautiful animals I ever saw, led 
several charges of his troops past General Lee in the temporary 
grandstand. Some of President Davis's Cabinet, a large number 
of ladies and Hood's division of infantry were present as specta- 
tors. In the afternoon there was a sham battle, in which the 
horse artillery, commanded by the gallant young Major Pelham, 
of Alabama, took part. The firing attracted the attention of the 
Yankees on the other side of the river. Their speculation as to 
the cause gave rise to the report that a part of the Confederates 
had mutinied and were fighting among themselves. Their anxiety 
to know, in part, caused them to cross the river that night, while 
General Stuart and his principal officers were at a ball in the 
village of Culpeper Court House dancing with the pretty women 
and having a good time. The Yankees ruthlessly disturbed the 
Confederates and caused them to rush to the front as the officers 
of Wellington's allied army did from the grand ball in Brussels, 
in 1 8 1 5 , at the sound of Napoleon's cannon, the night before the 
battle of Waterloo. The next morning the Yankee cavalry, under 
General Pleasanton, had crossed the river in great numbers and a 
hard cavalry battle ensued. Hood's division was ordered out, 
formed line of battle and stood ready to support our cavalry, but 
nur enemies discovered the infantry and retired across the river. 
If there be anything thoroughly dreaded by cavalry it is infantry. 
Tn the battle, General Butler of South Carolina, lost one of his 
feet and was brought out on a litter through our line. Stuart 
reported a loss of 4S5 officers and men; Pleasanton of 907 and 
three pieces of artillery. 

When forming to see the review the day before, the late Gov- 
ernor Watts, of Alabama, then Attorney-General of the Confed- 
erate States, was looking at the troops going into line. He held 
in his hand a fine pocket-knife, with which he had been whittling, 
and a private in the Fifteenth Alabama said: "Mr. Attorney- 
General, I wish that you would give me that knife." Upon the 
word the big-hearted Alabamian stepped forward and handed it 
to him, which brought forth a hearty cheer from the men. 

When General Lee began the march for Pennsylvania he went 
through the Shenandoah Valley in rear of the Blue Ridge Moun- 
tains to shield his movement from Hooker, who was then in 
command of the Union army, and to keep him in ignorance as 


far as practicable, of the object or purpose of the movement. 
General Longstreet, who was next in rank to Lee of any of the 
generals in that army, and therefore as to its organization and 
effective strength should be regarded as very competent authority, 
says there were three corps of infantry of three divisions each and 
four brigades in each division, except those of R. H. Anderson, 
Pickett and Rodes, in each of which there were five brigades. 

The First Corps, commanded by General Longstreet, was com- 
posed of the divisions of McLaws, Pickett and Hood. 

McLaws's division was composed of Kershaw's brigade — 
Second, Third, Seventh, Eighth and Fifteenth South Carolina 
regiments and Third South Carolina battalion; Barksdale's 
brigade — Thirteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-first 
Mississippi regiments; Semmes's brigade — Tenth, Fiftieth, Fifty- 
first and Fifty-third Georgia regiments ; Wofford's brigade — 
Sixteenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-fourth Georgia regiments and 
Cobb's and Phillips's Georgia legions. Total, eighteen regiments 
and one battalion in this division. 

Pickett's division was composed of Garnett's brigade — Eighth. 
Eighteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-eighth and Thirty-sixth Virginia 
regiments; Kemper's brigade — First, Third, Seventh, Eleventh 
and Twenty- fourth Virginia regiments; Armistead's brigade — 
Ninth, Fourteenth, Thirty-eighth, Fifty-third and Fifty-seventh 
Virginia regiments. Total, fifteen Virginia regiments in this 
division. Jenkins's and Corse's brigades belonged to this division, 
but did not go to Pennsylvania. 

Hood's division was composed of Law's brigade — Fourth, Fif- 
teenth, Forty-fourth, Forty-seventh and Forty-eighth Alabama 
regiments; Robertson's brigade — Third Arkansas, First, Fourth 
and Fifth Texas regiments; Anderson's brigade — Seventh, 
Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh and Fifty-ninth Georgia regiments , 
Benning's brigade — Second, Fifteenth, Seventeenth and Twen- 
tieth Georgia regiments. Total, eighteen regiments in this 

The Second Corps, commanded by General Ewell, contained 
the divisions of Early, Johnson and Rodes. 

Early's division was composed of Hays's brigade — Fifth, Sixth, 
Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Louisiana regiments ; Smith's brigade 
— Thirty-first, Forty-ninth and Fifty-second Virginia regiments ; 
Hoke's brigade — Sixth, Twenty-first and Fifty-seventh North 


Carolina regiments; Gordon's brigade— Thirteenth, Twentieth, 
Thirty-first, Thirty-eighth, Sixtieth and Sixty-first Georgia regi- 
ments. Total, seventeen regiments in this division. 

Johnson's division was composed of Stuart's brigade — First 
and Third North Carolina, Tenth, Twenty-third and Thirty- 
seventh Virginia regiments and First Maryland battalion; Stone- 
wall brigade— Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh and 
Thirty-third Virginia regiments; Nicholls's brigade — First. 
Second, Tenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Louisiana regiments; 
lone- s brigade — Twenty-first, Twenty-fifth, Forty-second, Forty- 
fourth, Forty-eighth and Fiftieth Virginia regiments. Total, 
twenty-one regiments and one battalion in this division. 

Rodess divi-ion was composed of Daniel's brigade — Thirty- 
second, Forty-third. Forty-fifth and Fifty-third North Carolina 
regiments and one North Carolina battalion; Dole's brigade — 
Fourth, Twelfth. Twenty-first and Forty-fourth Georgia regi- 
ments Iverson s brigade — Fifth, Twelfth, Twentieth and 
Twenty-third North Carolina regiments; Ramseur's brigade — 
S'O'nd. Fourth, Fourteenth and Thirtieth North Carolina regi- 
ments; O'Neal's brigade — Third. Fifth, Sixth, Twelfth and 
Twenty-sixth Alabama regiments. Total, twenty-one regiments 
and one battalion in this division. 

The Third Corp-, commanded by Gen. A. P Hill, was com- 
posed of Anderson s. Heath's and Pender's divisions. 

Xnderson's division was composed of Wilcox's brigade — 
Fightli. Ninth, Tenth, Kleventh and Fourteenth Alabama regi- 
ments; Mabones brigade — Sixth, Twelfth, Sixteenth, Forty-first 
and Sixty-first Virginia regiments, Wright's brigade — Third, 
Twenty-second and Fortv-eighth Georgia regiments and Second 
Georgia battalion; Perry's brigade— Second, Fifth and Eighth 
Florida regiments. Posey's brigade — Twelfth, Sixteenth, Nine- 
teenth and Forty-eighth' Mississippi regiments. Total, twenty 
regiments and one battalion in this division. 
F] ll e ' h ' s division was composed of Pettigrew's brigade— 
regiments ZTV*** 1 ' Fort y- seve «th and Fifty-fifth Virginia 
brSe FW Twenty-second Virginia battalion; Archer's 
ThfSe^ Ahhf^ and Fourteenth Tennessee regiments, 

Davis' b,L^ C a "«""«* ^d Fifth Alabama battalion; 
Dav 1S bngade-Second, Eleventh and Forty-second Mis s pp 


regiments and Fifty-fifth North Carolina regiment. Total, fif- 
teen regiments and two battalions in this division. 

Pender's division was composed of Perrin's brigade — First 
South Carolina regulars, First volunteers and Twelfth, Thirteenth 
and Fourteenth South Carolina regiments ; Lane's brigade — 
Seventh, Eighteenth, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-third and Thirty- 
seventh North Carolina regiments; Thomas's brigade — Four- 
teenth, Thirty-fifth, Forty-fifth and Forty-ninth Georgia regi- 
ments ; Scales's brigade — Thirteenth, Sixteenth. Twenty-second, 
Thirty-fourth and Thirty-eighth North Carolina regiments. 
Total, nineteen regiments in this division. 

It will be seen from the foregoing enumeration of commands 
that the Confederate army when Lee began his march to invade 
Pennsylvania consisted of 39 brigades of infantry, composed of 
164 regiments and 6 battalions, 7 brigades of cavalry and 287 
guns of artillery, aggregating, as estimated by General Long- 
street, 75,000 men. 

The wagon-train of reserve supplies alone was 17 miles long. 

General Longstreet says in his book (pp. 335, 336) : 

J. E. B. Stuart's cavalry consisted of the brigades of Wade Hampton, 
Fitzhugh Lee, W. H. F Lee, Beverly Robertson, and W E. Jones. The 
cavalry of Jenkins and Imboden, operating in the Valley and West Virginia 
near our route, was to move, the former with Ewell, the latter on his left. 
Six batteries of horse artillery under Maj. R. F. Beckham were of Stuart's 
command, and to each army corps were attached 5 battalions of artillery of 4 
guns to a battery, and 4 batteries to a battalion, making of the whole artillery 
organization, including batteries of reserve and the 30 guns of horse artillery, 
287 guns. 

In the Union Army of the Potomac were 51 brigades of infantry, 8 bri- 
gades of cavalry, and 370 guns of artillery. The artillery appointments were 
so superior that our officers sometimes felt humiliated when posted to un- 
equal combat with their better metal and ammunition. In small arms also 
the Union troops had the most improved styles. 

The plan of defensive tactics gave hope of success, and, in fact, I assured 
General Lee that the First Corps would receive and defend the battle, if he 
would guard its flanks, leaving his other corps to gather the fruits of success. 
The First Corps was as solid as a rock — a great rock. It was not to be broken 
of good position by direct assault, and was steady enough to work and wait 
for its chosen battle. 

When the Third Corps had passed behind the First, the latter and the 
cavalry were to withdraw and follow the general march. Stuart, whose 
movements were to correspond to those of the First Corps, was to follow its 
withdrawal and cross the Potomac on our right flank at Shepherdstown. The 
brigades of Gens. M. Jenkins and M. C. Corse, of Pickett's division, left in 



Virginia near Petersburg and Hanover Junction, were to follow and join 
their division. 

General Beauregard was to be called from his post, in the South, with 
such brigades as could be pulled away temporarily from their Southern service, 
and thrown forward, with the two brigades of Pickett's division (Jenkins's 
and Corse's) and such others as could be got together, along the Orange and 
Alexandra Railroad in threatening attitude toward Washington City, and he 
was to suddenly forward Pickett's brigades through the Valley to the division, 
and at his pleasure march on, or back toward Richmond. 

General Lee thought that Beauregard's appearance in northern Virginia 
would increase the known anxiety of the Washington authorities and cause 
them to draw troops from the South, when in the progress of events other 
similar movements might follow on both sides until important results could 
be developed north of the Potomac. 

Lee's early experience with the Richmond authorities [meaning President 
Davis] taught him to deal cautiously with them in disclosing his views, and to 
leave for them the privilege and credit of approving, step by step, his appar- 
ently hesitant policy, so that his plans were disclosed little at a time ; and, find- 
ing them slow in approving them, still slower in advancing the brigades of 
Pickett's division, and utterly oblivious of the effect of a grand swing north on 
our interior lines, he did not mention the part left open for Beauregard until 
he had their approval of the march of the part of his command as he held 
it in hand. 


The authorities, not comprehending the vast strength to be gathered by 
utilizing our interior lines, failed to bring about their execution, and the great 
possibility was not fully tested. 

Beauregard was not ordered and the brigades of Corse and 
Jenkins were not sent forward. Had they been present they 
would have added to Lee's strength from four to five thousand 
men and might have caused him to have won the victory at 
Gettysburg. Lee's plan for Beauregard, with a few thousand 
men, to threaten Washington would have created consterna- 
tion in that city and doubtless have held there many thousands 
of the troops which he encountered at Gettysburg. It was a wise 
conception and President Davis should have ordered it. By his 
failing to do so a great opportunity of making Lee's campaign a 
grand success was lost.* 

*Mr. Davis wrote General Lee, after the latter entered Pennsylvania, that 
he declined to send Beauregard with such force as he could gather to threaten 
Washington and then send the two brigades of Pickett's division to Lee, as 
it would so uncover Richmond as to leave it subject to capture. This letter 
never reached General Lee, but was captured en route, and hence the Washing- 
ton authorities knew that it was safe to reenforce General Meade with nearly 
all the troops which had been left to guard and protect the place. This revela- 
tion was, therefore, greatly to Lee's disadvantage, by not getting the brigades, 
and by the knowledge that Washington was not in danger. 


On the ioth of June Ewell, with the Second Corps, began the 
march and entered the Valley via Chester Gap. General Milroy 
had 9,000 men at Winchester and a brigade at Berryville. There 
were one or two regiments at Martinsburg and at Harper's Ferry 
there were about 10,000 men under General Kelley. Ewell 
stormed Milroy's fortifications at Winchester and soon drove all 
of the Union troops out of the Valley. They fled to Maryland in 
the direction of Washington. 

Ewell took 4,000 prisoners, an equal number of small arms, 1 1 
stands of colors, 25 cannon, 250 wagons, 400 horses and a large 
amount of subsistence and quartermasters' stores. He lost but 
270 men of all arms. He crossed the Potomac on the 15th at 
Shepherdstown, or Sharpsburg, and occupied Hagerstown, Md., 
the same day without opposition. He continued his advance with 
a part of his command via Chambersburg and a part via Gettys- 
burg to Carlisle, where he destroyed the United States barracks. 
On his march to that point he had sent back for the corps in his 
rear, 3,000 head of beef cattle and 5,000 barrels of flour Gor- 
don's brigade, sent in advance, passed Gettysburg and York, and 
reached Wrightsville on the Susquehanna, taking a few hundred 
of State militia prisoners. Ewell was at Carlisle on the 28th of 

Longstreet, with the First Corps, on the 19th held the Blue 
Ridge at Ashby's and Snicker's Gaps, while Hill, with the Third 
Corps, was passing down the Valley in his rear. Hill crossed the 
Potomac on June 23 at Shepherdstown. On the 20th Longstreet 
crossed the Shenandoah, his men wading the stream. He halted 
on the opposite side to support Stuart, if necessary, as he was 
heavily engaged with Pleasanton's cavalry at Upperville, Va. 
Stuart was driven back into Ashby's Gap, but the brigade of 
infantry (Wofford's), ordered back to his support, caused the 
Federal cavalry to retire. The First Corps then proceeded and 
crossed the Potomac at Williamsport, the men wading the river, 
on June 23. 

Longstreet claims that he understood that as his corps was to 
guard the rear that the cavalry was to operate with it and follow 
its withdrawal to the west of the Blue Ridge, cross the Potomac 
at Shepherdstown, make his ride toward Baltimore, and that 
Stuart was really under his orders. But Stuart afterwards 
claimed that General Lee had given him authority to cross east 
of the Blue Ridge if he saw proper to do so. Longstreet com- 


plains in his book (p. 343) that Stuart disobeyed his orders and 
induced General Lee to consent to his going on a raid, which took 
three of the best brigades of the cavalry out of touch with the 
army when so much needed, and then adds : "So our plans, 
adopted after deep study, were suddenly given over to gratify the 
youthful cavalryman's wish for a nomadic ride." 

This implies a severe censure of General Lee, whose friendship 
Longstreet claims to have enjoyed to the close of his life. It was 
written after Lee's death. 

To show the injustice of Longstreet to the memory of Generals 
Lee and Stuart, we copy Longstreet's reports to Lee dated June 
22, the day before he crossed the Potomac, showing in the last 
one, written at 7 30 o'clock P M., that he had suggested to Stuart 
that he cross the river in the enemy's rear. 

After they are both dead, he publishes in his book that Stuart 
refused to obey him and that Lee gave him permission to go on 
"a nomadic ride" merely to gratify his ambition, and implies that 
thereby the campaign was a failure and the battle of Gettysburg 
was lost. 

Millwood, June 22, 1863, 7 PM. 
Maj.-Gen. J. E. B. Stuart, Comdg. Cavalry. 

General : General Lee has enclosed to me this letter for you, to be for- 
warded to you, provided you can be spared from my front, and provided I 
think that you can move across the Potomac without disclosing our plans. He 
speaks of your leaving via Hopewell Gap and passing by the rear of the enemy. 
If you can get through by that route I think you will be less likely to indicate 
what our plans are than if you should cross by passing to our rear. I forward 
the letter of instructions with these suggestions. Please advise me of the 
condition of affairs before you leave, and order General Hampton, whom I 
suppose you will leave here in command, to report to me at Millwood, either 
by letter or in person, as may be the most agreeable to him. 

Most respectfully, 



June 22, 1863, 7.30 P. M. 
Gen. R. E. Lee, Comdg., etc. 

General : Yours of 4 o'clock this afternoon is received. I have forwarded 
your letter to General Stuart, with the suggestion that he pass by the enemy's 
rear if he thinks he may get through. We have nothing of the enemy today. 

Most respectfully, 


Lieutenant-General Commanding. 


Stuart, leaving two of his brigades to protect Lee's communi- 
cations, cut loose three of his best ones from the Confederate 
army, passed across the rear of the Union army, crossed the 
Potomac south of it, approached within a few miles north of 
Washington and Baltimore, destroying the railroad between, in 
the neighborhood of the old Relay House, destroyed the telegraph 
and railroad communication on the Baltimore and Ohio east of 
Frederick City, caused great alarm in Baltimore and Washington, 
kept French's division from reenforcing Meade, captured within 
a few miles of Washington one hundred and twenty-five wagons 
and well-equipped teams — the wagons full of choice army supplies, 
destroyed much public property and took over 1,000 prisoners. 

Let us not, because he is dead and cannot speak for himself, 
allow the memory of this wizard of the saddle, "Jeb" Stuart, to 
be aspersed. His judgment perhaps on that occasion may have 
been erroneous and its consequence serious, but as a patriot he 
sealed his devotion to the Confederacy with his life at Yellow 
Tavern, Va., in 1864. He had Longstreet's permission and 
approval of the "nomadic ride" before he made it. 

Had Lee been promptly informed of Hooker's army crossing 
the Potomac on the 25th and 26th of June, as he would have been 
but for Stuart's absence, he would doubtless have concentrated 
his army at some point nearer his base of supplies than Gettys- 
burg and have received or awaited the attack of the Union army, 
in harmony with his purpose expressed before leaving Virginia, 
according to Longstreet, to act on the defensive. It is highly 
probable that in such an attitude he would have been successful. 
But Stuart's enthusiasm and the discretion allowed him by Lee 
and approved by Longstreet lost to Lee this opportunity. 

When Hooker, who was still in Virginia, learned how Lee's 
army was moving he reported the scattered condition of it to 
Washington and asked permission to cross the Rappahannock and 
move on Richmond. Lincoln replied that he thought Lee's army, 
and not Richmond, was Hooker's true objective point. He also 
wrote to Hooker : 

In case you find Lee coming to the north of the Rappahannock, I would 
by no means cross to the south of it. I would not take any risk of being en- 
tangled upon the river like an ox jumped half over a fence, and liable to be 
torn by dogs front and rear, without a fair chance to gore one way or kick 
the other. 


Again he wrote to Hooker : 

If the head of Lee's army is at Martinsburg and the tail of it on the plank 
road between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be slim 
somewhere. Could you not break him? 

The head and tail were, in fact, one hundred miles apart; but 
Lee knew that Hooker could not attack the head, as it was called 
by the laconic and facetious President, and if he attacked the 
middle or tail, that either Longstreet or Hill could fight him until 
the two corps could be concentrated, and with the two corps he 
had no fear that Hooker could break the animal. With but two 
corps Lee worsted Hooker at Chancellorsville. 

The army passed through Hagerstown, Md., and Chambers- 
burg, Pa., at which last-named place the corps of Longstreet and 
Hill were halted for two days, while Ewell pushed on as far as 

The weather was very warm when we marched from Culpeper, 
and so continued until the day we crossed the river, when there 
was a very heavy cold rain, which drenched us to the skin. A 
good many of the men fainted or had sunstroke on the march, yet 
the morale of the army was never better. The Fifteenth Alabama 
had 600 men in ranks and 42 officers when we started on that 
march, ami during its progress lost four men by desertion and 
over fifty by heat and sickness. 

After crossing the river and marching through Hagerstown, 
Hood had issued to his division several barrels of captured 
whiskey and the consequence was that there were quite a number 
of drunken officers and men. This, as I well remember, was the 
case in the Fifteenth Alabama Regiment. We marched into 
Pennsylvania that afternoon and went into camp before night 
near Greencastle. I, with Adjutant Waddell, rode out into the 
country and found some of the soldiers committing depredations 
upon the Dutch farmers, which I promptly rebuked, and ordered 
the men to camps wherever we found them. This was done in 
obedience to General Lee's order, forbidding interference with 
private property because it was wrong and should never be done, 
even in an enemy's country, except when absolutely necessary. 
But as far as I saw these depredations extended only to taking 
something to eat and burning fence rails for fuel. Some men 
would do this when they had plenty of rations in camp. At one 
house we found some of our regiment milking the cows and catch- 


ing the milk in canteens, which seemed to be very expert work 
of that kind. The people, as far as I could learn, seemed a good 
deal alarmed, but behaved well. Waddell and myself took supper 
that night with some very loyal people to the Union. I sent them 
a guard and protected them and their property from trespass and 

There were two young ladies in the family and they, in com- 
mon with the men of the household, conversed very freely after I 
assured them of their perfect right to speak their real sentiments. 
One of the ladies said she wished that the two armies would hang 
the two Presidents, Jeff Davis and Lincoln, and stop the war. 
These people, although educated in books of some kind, and 
apparently well informed on nearly everything else, were remark- 
ably ignorant of the causes of the war and the real character of 
the Government. They looked upon the war as a personal con- 
tention between two ambitious men for the supremacy and they 
were particularly spiteful toward Davis because they seemed to 
think that he wanted to dissolve the Union merely to be President 
of the Southern Confederacy. The same measure of ignorance 
existed in the minds of two-thirds of the people in the Northern 
States. There was not one in ten of the very men who fought 
us could give anything like a true or intelligent account of the 
causes which led to the war or the issues involved. They were 
taught like parrots to say that they were fighting for the Union, 
when they could speak English at all. About one-third of the 
rank and file were foreigners, recruited in Europe for the bounty 
merely. Many of them, when captured, could give no other 
account of the command they belonged to or what they were 
fighting for, than "Me fights mit Zegel," and we staked the best 
and most chivalric blood that ever flowed in the veins of the 
young men of any land or country against such trash as this — the 
hireling paupers of Europe — just such as flock to our shores, 
frequently through the assistance of their home government in 
Europe, because it is cheaper to send them to America than to 
support and govern them at home, and the United States unwisely 
admits too many of those who come. More than half a million 
of foreigners come to our shores every year. 

Twelve months after they arrive, in nearly all of the States 
they are invested with the elective franchise and given a home- 
stead of 1 60 acres of land. Two or three decades hence the folly 
of thus receiving them by the wholesale will be condemned. A 


dense population expels loneliness and presents scenes of active 
business, but it contributes nothing to longevity, virtue and happi- 
ness and makes the battle of life much harder for the poor. I 
have never been able to perceive the wisdom of those legislators 
who, not satisfied with the immense immigration we are receiving, 
like Oliver Twist was with the soup, "want more," and cry, "let 
them come." 

There were in the Fifteenth Alabama about thirty foreigners, 
all Irish except one, who was a Frenchman. They fought well 
while they remained with us. But they generally belonged to 
the floating population of the country, and hence after three or 
four of them were killed and the excitement began to grow cold, 
all except four or five deserted. All honor to O'Connor, Brannon, 
McArdle, McGuire, McEntyre and others who stayed and fought 
to the last. 

On the 27th Hooker wanted to withdraw the garrison from 
Harper's Ferry and with this force and the Twelfth Corps to cut 
Lee's communications, but General Halleck would not allow it 
and Hooker resigned. Meade was put in command. He was 
the sixth commander of the Army of the Potomac and probably 
the best. That army then consisted of the First, Second, Third, 
Fifth, Sixth, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps of infantry, eight 
brigades of cavalry, and mustered on the 30th of June 105,000 

All the houses were closed when the Confederates marched 
through Chambersburg. The people stood in crowds on the side- 
walks and at the upper story windows to see the "rebels pass." 
Guards were stationed to prevent depredations by our troops. 
We encamped beyond the town. 

Stuart having gone to the eastward, had to keep to the east of 
the Union army and perform an extensive circuit by Carlisle Bar- 
racks, and was not in communication with Lee until the battle 
which ensued was more than half over, as stated by Longstreet 
and in official reports. On the 28th, 29th and 30th of June, Lee 
knew nothing of the whereabouts either of Stuart or the Union 
army, except the report of a scout on the morning of the' 29th or 
night of the 28th. He had not with him a sufficient force of 
cavalry to keep him accurately advised of the movements of his 
enemy. He did not know that Hooker had been superseded by 
Meade until the scout reported it. Major-General Trimble was 
serving on Lee's staff as chief of engineers. He told the writer 


after the war that Lee told him on the 28th that his plan of opera- 
tions was to fall upon the advance of the Union army, when and 
wherever he found it, crush and hurl it back on the main body, 
press forward and beat that before its commander could have time 
to concentrate his whole force ; that in the event of his success he 
intended to march on Philadelphia. But he was greatly perplexed 
that he could not hear from Stuart, who had with him three of the 
best brigades of cavalry. Lee was, therefore, uninformed of the 
exact movements of the Union army. He despatched Trimble 
with orders to Ewell for a detachment to move on and capture 
Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. On the 30th of June 
Trimble was moving with a brigade and a battery of artillery 
against that town when an order from Lee to Ewell recalled him 
and put the whole corps in motion for Cashtown, but Hill becom- 
ing engaged without orders, Ewell had to go to his support at 
Gettysburg. On the first day of July a division of Hill's corps 
was approaching that place by the Cashtown Road, which enters 
it on the western side, to collect supplies. When about three miles 
out the pickets of Buford's cavalry were encountered. Meade 
had selected a position on Pipe Creek, nine miles southeast from 
Gettysburg, on the Baltimore Pike, to concentrate and receive 
Lee's assault if he moved in that direction, but sent forward the 
corps of Reynolds and Howard, preceded by Buford's cavalry, as 
an army of observation. Lee did not intend to fight at Gettys- 
burg, but at Cashtown, and ordered Ewell there at first, where 
Lee could, with his back to the mountains, have protected his 
communications and acted on the defensive ; but General Hill 
inconsiderately blundered into the fight and hence Ewell had to 
leave the Cashtown Road and go to his assistance, and after that 
day's terrible battle Lee thought it inexpedient to withdraw to 

They gave ground before Hill's vanguard, General Archer's 
brigade, for about one mile, when, after considerable delay in 
crossing Willoughby Run, it was, with its commander, surrounded 
and captured. Hill then ordered the remainder of that division 
forward, and the brigades of Scales, Brockenbrough and Davis 
drove everything before them and halted only when they had 
carried the crest or top of the hill. In this fight W W Dudley, 
well known in political circles as "Blocks-of-five" Dudley, on 
account of his method of controlling Republican voters in Indiana, 
then a colonel in the Iron Brigade, lost one of his feet. Hill 


brought into action another division. His third was in the rear 
and did not arrive in time to participate in that action. In a little 
skirt of woods on the top of the hill, east of the mill on the Run, 
is where General Reynolds was killed. A splendid bronze statue 
of him stands on the spot and another in front of the entrance to 
the Soldiers' Cemetery. General Doubleday succeeded to the 
command and interposed a stubborn resistance. 

In an open space to the east of where Reynolds fell the color 
bearer of a New York regiment, when all had fled, turned, and 
holding his colors in one hand, shook his fist at the North Caro- 
linians advancing on him, and in that attitude was killed. A 
marble statue on the spot represents him at the moment he received 
the fatal shot. It is a fine piece of art. 

Howard's corps formed line of battle on the north side of the 
town, out about one mile, to confront Ewell, who was just then 
arriving from Carlisle. Ewell despatched Early's and Rhodes's 
divisions to attack, holding Johnson's in reserve, and they swept 
forward, hurling Howard's corps, broken and bleeding, back on 
the town. Rodes's right wing united with Hill's left at right 
angles and the four divisions, then forming one continuous line, 
drove the two Federal corps from the field and through the town. 
Gordon's large brigade struck the Federal right in flank and was 
driving everything and capturing prisoners by the hundreds, 
when he was ordered to halt, which he did not obey until twice 
repeated. A great opportunity lost to the Confederates. 

Most unfortunately, General Ewell failed to follow up the 
victory and dislodge those broken corps from Cemetery Ridge 
and Culp's Hill that evening. He hesitated and awaited the 
arrival of Lee. Therein was Ewell's deficiency as a general. He 
had a splendid tactical eye, capable of grand military conceptions, 
and once resolved quick as lightning to act, yet he was never quite 
confident of his judgment and sought the approval of others 
before he would execute. And why did General Early halt 
Gordon's brigade in its splendid achievements ? Ramseur pushed 
his brigade up Culp's Hill that evening, but was ordered back to 
the line of his division. That night Culp's was occupied and 
fortified by the Twelfth Corps of the Union army, commanded 
by the intrepid H. W Slocum. Another lost opportunity of the 

In addition to the loss of Archer's brigade of Hill's corps, 
Iverson's brigade of Ewell's corps was also captured, but both 


were small and did not aggregate more than 2,000 men. Near 
5,000 Federals were taken prisoners that day and the killed and 
wounded on both sides were large, the advantage being decidedly 
with the Confederates. They held the town of Gettysburg and 
the entire field of that day's fighting. 

General Hancock had been sent forward with written authority 
from General Meade to take command of all the troops at the 
front and to exercise his judgment as to whether the battle should 
be fought there or on Pipe Creek. With the perception of a great 
general he saw the strength of the position, seized upon it, reform- 
ed the broken corps and reported to his chief that he had a favor- 
able position. Had Ewell only occupied Culp's Hill that night, 
which he could easily have done, the genius of Hancock would 
have been foiled and the Union army could not have made a 
further stand at Gettysburg; but Ewell delayed and the oppor- 
tunity was lost. Had Stonewall Jackson been alive and in Ewell's 
stead, as he would have been, Hancock would not have been able 
to rally on Cemetery Ridge the broken and demoralized corps of 
Howard and Doubleday. They would have been pursued and 
driven from their strong position and the history of this country, 
in all probability, made to read very differently from what it does. 
The school geographies of today would probably — yes, most 
likely — have shown the existence of a nation now extinct forever. 
Ah ! so much depends on celerity of action in military maneuvers. 
Just at this time occurred the great riots in New York in resist- 
ance to the draft. Lee's success would have so strengthened the 
peace party that negotiations would have followed. The credit 
of the United States at that time was badly shattered and at a 
comparatively low ebb. Their bonds were worth but fifty cents 
on the dollar. The National Bank Act had not then fairly got in 
its work. It afterwards appreciated the bonds to par, restored 
the credit of the United States and conquered the Confederacy. 
It did more to that end than did the Army of the Potomac. To 
O. D. Potter, of New York, as the originator of the scheme, and 
Salmon P Chase, the then Secretary of the Treasury, for putting 
it into execution, was the Union indebted. 

Hill's corps lay that night in line of battle along Seminary 
Ridge, nearly parallel with and about one mile distant from 
Cemetery Ridge, along which Hancock was forming in line the 
remains of Howard's and Reynolds's corps. Sickles's and Han- 


cock's corps arrived after dark and during the night and were 
placed on the left and extended the line next morning only to the 
northern foot of Little Round Top. General Lee arrived on 
Ewell's part of the field about the close of the battle, a little before 
sunset, and with Trimble went up in the observatory of the college 
building, which stands in the northern suburbs of the town, and 
surveyed the surroundings. He then ordered Trimble to find a 
practicable road to carry the artillery around to the right, to which 
he proposed transferring Ewell's corps during the night, but 
from some cause, known to me only by hearsay, it was not done. 
General Trimble told me after the war that it was so late at night 
before a practicable way was found that General Lee deemed it 
impracticable; and thus ended the first day's fight at Gettysburg, 
with the advantage decidedly on the side of the Confederates, 
except that Ewell's failure to press on and gain the heights that 
night left them at a decided disadvantage as to position the next 

During the fighting General Gordon, of Georgia, found upon 
the field General Barlow, of the Union army, mortally wounded, 
as he and Gordon believed. He told the latter that his wife was 
with the army and gave him a message to be conveyed to the wife 
after he was dead. Gordon had him removed to a house and 
that night obtained permission for Mrs. Barlow to come into the 
Confederate lines to her husband, but heard no more of him and 
supposed that he died. Long after the war, when Gordon was 
serving in the United States Senate, he met at a dinner one even- 
ing a General Barlow and inquired if he was related to the General 
Barlow who was killed at Gettysburg? He replied yes, that he 
was the same Barlow. He then inquired if Gordon was related 
to the General Gordon who aided him when he lay helpless upon 
the field and was afterwards killed in 1864, as he had seen 
reported. Gordon replied that the General Gordon who was 
killed in 1864 was from North Carolina, and that he was the 
General Gordon who aided him (Barlow) at Gettysburg. Each 
had believed the other among the angels for more than twenty 
years when they, to the utter surprise of each other, met in the 
flesh and had a joyous reunion. 

At an angle on a hill in the Union line there was a battery well 
served, where a lieutenant, after his captain was killed and his 
men but few, stood by the guns until one of his thighs was broken, 
nearly torn off. His guns were taken by some of Early's division, 


which swept right on, paying no attention to the wounded. The 
lieutenant was but twenty years old. He lay bleeding where he 
fell. He took out his pocket knife and amputated his own limb, 
then crawled over a hundred yards to a house in the hope of find- 
ing some relief, and especially a drink of water, but there was no 
one at the house but wounded men, who could not help him. One 
of his wounded men lay near him and his cries and those of others 
for water caused a straggling Confederate who had a canteen to 
go to them; seeing the mangled condition of the lieutenant he 
gave him the canteen of water. The wounded man cried most 
piteously, imploring his lieutenant to give it to him. The young 
officer handed it to him, and as the soldier emptied the canteen 
and enjoyed it so much, the young hero smiled and soon breathed 
his last. Heroism is admired even in an enemy. A monument 
should be erected to that lieutenant on that spot. His name was 



The Fifteenth Arrives Upon the Field — General Hood's Report — On Great 
Round Top— Ordered to Capture Little Round Top, if Possible — Vincent's 
Federal Brigade There Ahead of Me — The Fight — Some Federal Mis- 
statements of Fact — Our Retreat — General Longstreet Not Loyal to Gen- 
eral Lee — A Gallant Attempt to Recover Our Wounded — Devil's Den. 

Law's brigade was on picket some several miles from Cham- 
bersburg, near New Guilford Court House, on the first day of 
July, when in the afternoon the cannonading of the engagement 
between portions of Ewell's and Hill's corps, and the Federals, 
under Reynolds, Howard and Doubleday, near Gettysburg, was 
distinctly heard by us. About dark we received an order to be 
read}' to move at any moment. Subsequently we were ordered 
to CDnk rations and to be ready to move at three o'clock A. M. 
It was near 4 o'clock when the brigade was put in motion, and 
after a rapid and fatiguing march, passing the smoking ruins of 
Thad. Stevens s property it arrived on the field within sight of 
Gettysburg at about 2 o'clock P M., having marched twenty-five 
miles. For two or three miles before we arrived we saw many 
field hospitals — wounded men and thousands of prisoners, evi- 
dencing the bloody engagement of the previous evening. 

When we arrived Generals Lee and Longstreet were together 
on an eminence in our front— on Seminary Ridge— and appeared 
to be inspecting with field glasses the position of the Federals. 
He : were allowed but a few minutes' rest, when the divisions of 
McLaws and Hood were moved in line by the right flank around 
del,v e n°l th t Fed ,eral position. There was a good deal of 

I°". he ™ arch > whlch was quite circuitous, for the purpose 
1 C T7 S ^.movement from the enemy. Finally Hood 

SLt of thTlinV ^/^ ° f Mc , LaWS and we ^ int ° too" the 
crest of the little ridge across the Emmitsburg- Road with Beti- 

nmg ; s brigade m rear of his center, constituting a second line- 
his battalion of artillery, sixteen pieces, in position on hi left 


McLaws then formed his division of four brigades in two lines 
of battle on Hood's left, with sixteen pieces of artillery in position 
on McLaws's left. 

This line crossed the Emmitsburg Road and was partially 
parallel with it. The extreme right of Hood's line was consider- 
ably in advance and north of that road, and its right directly 
opposite to the center of the Great Round Top Mountain. Law's 
brigade constituted the right of Hood's line and was formed at 
first in single line, as follows : 

My regiment, the Fifteenth Alabama, in the center, the Forty- 
fourth and Forty-eighth Alabama regiments to my right and the 
Forty-seventh and Fourth Alabama regiments to my left. Thus 
formed, about 3.30 o'clock P M., both battalions of artillery 
opened fire. The Federals replied from their guns on and near 
Little Round Top, and within a few minutes our line advanced in 
quick time under the fire of our guns, through an open field about 
three or four hundred yards and then down a gentle slope for a 
quarter of a mile, through the open valley of Plum Run, a small, 
muddy, meandering stream running through it near the base of the 
mountains.* Law's brigade was the first to move, but the two regi- 
ments to my right were dropped back a short distance, and as we 
entered the valley the Forty-fourth Alabama was directed to the 
left to attack the Devil's Den, and the Forty-eighth continued as 
a reserve or second line, which made the Fifteenth a little in 
advance and on the extreme right of Longstreet's column of 
attack. Benning's, the Texas, and Anderson's brigades moved in 
echelon into the action so that our division was spread out 
like the outer edge of a half-open fan, and as the right drove the 

* The advance was not skilfully made in all respects. Five companies 
from two of the regiments of the brigade covered its front as skirmishers. 
The two from the Forty-eighth on the right were under the command of a 
captain, the three from the Forty-seventh likewise commanded by a captain, 
and in the advance were soon disconnected from each other, but all moved 
directly toward the center, and bore to the right of the southern front of 
Great Round Top, and passed around it to the right on the eastern side. 
Capt. A. O. Dickson, then first lieutenant of Company A, one of the skirmish 
companies of the Forty-eighth regiment, now lives in Brooksville, Blount 
County, Alabama, and is an intelligent, reliable man. He says that these 
companies passed entirely around to the northern side of the mountain without 
encountering any Union troops, and in this way these companies were not in 
the battle of July 2d. Capt. J. Q. Burton, of the Forty-seventh, who lives at 
Opelika, and is a reliable gentleman, says that three companies from that regi- 
ment went the same way, never encountered the enemy, and were not in the 
battle. Had these five companies gone farther and joined my column on the 
north side of Great Round Top, I could have captured the ordnance train, and 


enemy from the base of the mountain, each brigade in succession 
would strike the enemy's line on the flank or quartering, so that 
as we drove them our line would shorten and hence strengthen, 
but General Sickles had changed his line after the first formation, 
so that Birney's division with Ward's brigade on its left at the 
Devil's Den and extending along a ridge to the Emmitsburg 
Road, was facing us, instead of the other way, as General Lee 
thought. Sickles thus gave us an unexpected and very warm 
reception. He constantly received reenforcements, which made 
his line hard to drive. Sickles's apprehension of another flank 
movement on Lee's part as at Chancellorsville was well founded, 
but the same man was not there to conduct it as at that place two 
months before. To guard against a similar surprise, Sickles 
changed his first formation and placed Birney's fine division, well 
supported, on his flank and facing to the rear, which thwarted 
Lee's plan of attack made two hours before, which was a masterly 
piece of strategy when made. Rapid change of conditions in all 
human affairs bring unexpected results. A.s the most authentic 
account of Longstreet's attack and the spirit in which he made it, 
I quote from Major-General Hood's report to him long after the 
battle as follows : 

General Lee was, seemingly, anxious you should attack that morning,. He 
remarked to me, "The enemy is here, and if we do not whip him, he will whip 
us." You thought it better to await the arrival of Pickett's division — at that 
time still in the rear — in order to make the attack ; and you said to me, subse- 
quently, whilst we were seated together near the trunk of a tree : "The General 
is a little nervous this morning; he wishes me to attack; I do not wish to do 
so without Pickett. I never like to go into battle with one boot off." 

Thus passed the forenoon of that eventful day, when in the afternoon— 
about 3 o'clock — it was decided to await no longer Pickett's division, but to 

it would have enabled me, in all probability, to have captured Little Round 
Top. The Forty-eighth Regiment was ordered across the rear to the left early 
in the advance. The attack, instead of being straight forward, as the skir- 
mishers doubtless believed it would be, was a left half wheel, but of which 
the skirmishers were not informed, so they went to the right and the line of 
battle to the left. On such an occasion a competent field officer should have 
been in command of the skirmish line of the brigade and before he began the 
advance have received definite instructions from the brigade commander. 
There was no such arrangement on this occasion, and as a consequence five 
companies of the brigade were not in the battle. 

No communication as to what was intended to be done was made to the 
regimental commanders, until after the advance began. This was a common 
practice in those days, but it was wrong. The colonels of the regiments about 
to engage in battle should always be informed of what is to be done before 
the advance begins, and it is the duty of the staff officers to see the orders 
carried out. 


proceed to our extreme right and attack up the Emmitsburg Road. McLaws 
moved off, and I followed with my division. In a short time I was ordered 
to quicken the march of my troops and to pass to the front of McLaws. 

This movement was accomplished by throwing out an advanced force to 
tear down fences and clear the way. The instructions I received were to place 
my division across the Emmitsburg Road, form line of battle, and attack. 
Before reaching this road, however, I had sent forward some of my picked 
Texas scouts to ascertain the position of the enemy's extreme left flank. They 
soon reported to me that it rested upon Round Top Mountain [meaning Little 
Round Top] ; that the country was open, and that I could march through an 
open woodland pasture around Round Top [meaning Great Round Top], and 
assault the enemy in flank and rear ; that their wagon trains were parked in 
rear of their lines and were badly exposed to our attack in that direction. As 
soon as I arrived upon the Emmitsburg Road I placed one or two batteries 
in position and opened fire. A reply from the enemy's guns soon developed 
his lines. His left rested on, or near, Round Top [meaning Little Round Top], 
with line bending back and again forward, forming, as it were, a concave line, 
as approached by the Emmitsburg Road. A considerable body of troops was 
posted in front of their main line, between the Emmitsburg Road and Round 
Top Mountain. This force was in line of battle upon an eminence near a 
peach orchard. [This was Birney's division of Sickles's corps.] 

I found that in making the attack according to orders, viz. : up the Em- 
mitsburg road, I should have first to encounter! and drive off this advanced 
line of battle; secondly, at the base and along the slope of the mountain, to 
confront immense boulders of stone, so massed together as to form narrow 
openings, which would break our ranks and cause the men to scatter whilst 
climbing up the rocky precipice. I found, moreover, that my division would 
be exposed to a heavy fire from the main line of the enemy in position on the 
crest of the high range, of which Round Top was the extreme left, and, by 
reason of the concavity of the enemy's line, that we would be subject to a de- 
structive fire in flank and rear, as well as in front ; and deemed it almost an 
impossibility to clamber along the boulders up this steep and rugged moun- 
tain, and, under this number of cross fires, put the enemy to flight. I knew 
that if the feat was accomplished, it must be at a most fearful sacrifice of as 
brave and gallant soldiers as ever engaged in battle. 

The reconnaissance of my Texas scouts and the development of the Fed- 
eral lines were effected in a very short space of time ; in truth, shorter than I 
have taken to recall and jot down these facts, although the scenes and events 
of that day are as clear to my mind as if the great battle had been fought yes- 
terday. I was in possession of these important facts so shortly after reaching 
the Emmitsburg Road, as ordered, and to urge that you allow me to turn 
Round Top, and attack the enemy in flank and rear. Accordingly I despatched 
a staff officer, bearing to you my request to be allowed to make the proposed 
movement on account of the above-stated reasons. Your reply was quickly 
received : "General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmitsburg Road." I 
sent another officer saying I feared nothing could be accomplished by such an 
attack, and renewed my request to turn Round Top. Again your answer was, 
"General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmitsburg Road." During this 
interim I had continued the use of the batteries upon the enemy, and had be- 
come more and more convinced that the Federal line extended to Round Top, 
and that I could not reasonably hope to accomplish much by the attack as 
ordered. In fact, it seemed to me that the enemy occupied a position by nature 
so strong — I may say impregnable — that, independently of their flank fire, they 
could easily repel our attack by merely throwing and rolling stones down the 
mountain side as we approached. 

A third time I despatched one of my staff to explain fully in regard to the 
situation and suggest that you had better come and look for yourself. I se- 



lected, in this instance, my adjutant-general, Col. Harry Sellers, whom you 
know to be not only an officer of great courage, but also of marked ability. 
Colonel Sellers returned with the same message: "General Lee's orders are 
to attack up the Emmitsburg Road." Almost simultaneously, Colonel Fair- 
fax, of your staff, rode up and repeated the above orders. 

After this urgent protest against entering the battle at Gettysburg, accord- 
ing to instructions — which protest is the first and only one I ever made during 
my entire military career — I ordered my line to advance and make the assault. 

As my troops were moving forward, you rode up in person ; a brief con- 
versation passed between us, during which I again expressed the fears above 
mentioned, and regret at not being allowed to attack in flank around Round 
Top. You answered to this effect : "We must obey the orders of General 
Lee." I then rode forward with my line under a heavy fire. In about twenty 
minutes, after reaching the peach orchard, I was severely wounded in the 
arm, and borne from the field. 

With this wound terminated my participation in this great battle. As I 
was borne off on a litter to the rear, I could but experience deep distress of 
mind and heart at the thought of the inevitable fate of my brave fellow-sol- 
diers, who formed one of the grandest divisions of that world-renowned 
army ; and I shall ever believe had I been permitted to turn Round Top Moun- 
tain, we would not only have gained that position, but have been able finally 
to rout the enemy. 

Skirmishers from Law's brigade, who passed around Great 
Round Top on its east side, confirm the statement of Hood's 
scouts that no Union troops were there. 

General Law rode up to me as we were advancing, and in- 
formed me that I was then on the extreme right of our line and 
for me to hug the base of Great Round Top and go up the valley 
between the two mountains, until I found the left of the Union 
line, to turn it and do all the damage I could, and that Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Bulger would be instructed to keep the Forty-sev- 
enth closed to my regiment, and if separated from the brigade he 
would act under my orders. Just after we crossed Plum Run we 
received the first fire from the enemy's infantry. It was Stough- 
ton's Second Regiment United States sharp-shooters, posted be- 
hind a fence at or near the southern foot of Great Round Top. 
They reached that position as we advanced through the old field. 
No other troops were there nor on that mountain at that time. I 
did not halt at the first fire, but looked to the rear for the Forty- 
eighth Alabama, and saw it going, under General Law's order, 
across the rear of our line to the left, it was said, to reenforce the 
Texas brigade, which was hotly engaged. That left no one in 
my rear or on my right to meet this foe. They were in the woods 
and I did not know the number of them. I received the second 
fire. Lieutenant-Colonel Feagin and one or two of the men fell. 
I knew it would not do to go on and leave that force, I knew not 


how strong, in our rear with no troops of ours to take care of 
them; so I gave the command to change direction to the right. 
The seven companies of the Forty-seventh swung around with the 
Fifteenth and kept in line with it. The other three companies of 
that regiment were sent forward as skirmishers before the ad- 
vance began. The sharp-shooters retreated up the south front of 
the mountain, pursued by my command. In places the men had 
to climb up, catching to the rocks and bushes and crawling over 
the boulders in the face of the fire of the enemy, who kept re- 
treating, taking shelter and firing down on us from behind the 
rocks and crags which covered the side of the mountain thicker 
than grave-stones in a city cemetery. Fortunately they usually 
over-shot us. We could see our foe only as they dodged back 
from one boulder to another, hence our fire was scattering. As 
we advanced up the mountain they ceased firing about half way 
up, divided, and a battalion went around the mountain on each 
side. Those who went up to the right fired a few shots at my 
flank. To meet this I deployed Company A, and moved it by the 
left flank to protect my right, and continued my rugged ascent 
until we reached the top. Some of my men fainted from heat, ex- 
haustion, and thirst. I halted and let them lie down and rest a 
few minutes. My right lay exactly where the observatory now 
stands, and the line extended down the slope westward. I saw 
Gettysburg through the foliage of the trees. Saw the smoke and 
heard the roar of battle which was then raging at the Devil's Den, 
in the peach orchard, up the Emmitsburg road, and on the west 
and south of the Little Round Top. I saw from the highest point 
of rocks that we were then on the most commanding elevation in 
that neighborhood. I knew that my men were too much ex- 
hausted to make a good fight without a few minutes' rest. 

To show their condition, I quote from General Longstreet, who 
says in his book (page 365) : 

Law completed his march of twenty-eight miles in eleven hours, the best 
marching in either army, to reach the field of Gettysburg. 

In addition to this we had ascended that mountain in pursuit of 
the sharp-shooters, which but few men at this day are able to climb 
without the accoutrements, rifles, and knapsacks carried by those 
heroic men. Greater heroes never shouldered muskets than those 


When we formed line of battle before the advance began, a de- 
tail was made of two men from each of the eleven companies of 
my regiment to take all the canteens to a well about one hundred 
yards in our rear and fill them with cool water before we went 
into the fight. Before this detail could fill the canteens the ad- 
vance was ordered. It would have been infinitely better to have 
waited five minutes for those twenty-two men and the canteens of 
water, but generals never ask a colonel if his regiment is ready to 
move. The order was given and away we went. The water de- 
tail followed with the canteens of water, but when they got into 
the woods they missed us, walked right into the Yankee lines, and 
were captured, canteens and all. My men in the ranks, in the in- 
tense heat, suffered greatly for water. The loss of those twenty- 
two men and lack of the water contributed largely to our failure 
to take Little Round Top a few minutes later. About five min- 
utes after I halted, Captain Terrell, assistant adjutant-general to 
General Law, rode up by the only pathway on the southeast side 
of the mountain and inquired why I had halted. I told him. 
He then informed me that General Hood was wounded, Law was 
in command of the division, and sent me his compliments, said 
for me to press on, turn the Union left, and capture Little Round 
Top, if possible, and to lose no time. 

I then called his attention to my position. A precipice on the 
east and north, right at my feet ; a very steep, stony, and wooded 
mountain-side on the west. The only approach to it by our en- 
emy, a long wooded slope on the northwest, where the pathway to 
the observatory now is. Within half an hour I could convert it 
into a Gibraltar that I could hold against ten times the number of 
men that I had, hence in my judgment it should be held and occu- 
pied by artillery as soon as possible, as it was higher than the 
other mountain and would command the entire field. Terrell re- 
plied that probably I was right, but that he had no authority to 
change or originate orders, which I very well knew ; but with 
his sanction I would have remained at that point until I could 
have heard from Law or some superior in rank. I inquired for 
Law. Terrell said that as senior brigadier he was commanding 
the division, and along the line to the left. He then repeated that 
General Law had sent him to tell me to lose no time, but to press 
forward and drive everything before me as far as possible. Gen- 
eral Meade did not then know the importance of the Round Tops. 
He admitted before the Committee of Congress on the Conduct of 


the War that it was the key-point to his position. He soon discov- 
ered its importance, and at the very moment we occupied it, he 
sent couriers to General Sykes to occupy it with his division as 
speedily as possible. I felt confident that Law did not know my 
position, or he would not order me from it. I had not seen him 
or any other general officer after I received Stoughton's fire, and 
did not see any general or staff officer, other than Terrell, until 
the morning of July 3 ; and I am confident that no general and 
but the one staff officer ascended Great Round Top. 

From an examination of the reports of the generals on each 
side and the testimony taken by the joint committee of Congress, 
there appears to have been confusion and inaccuracy of statement 
about Round Top Mountain, and a failure to discriminate be- 
tween them. There are two mountains, Great, or Big Round 
Top, and Little Round Top. They are from apex to apex one 
thousand yards apart, and Big Round Top is southeast of Little 
Round Top and 120 feet higher. Many of the generals in their 
reports speak of "Round Top" without indicating which. A 
reader who is familiar with the field or was in the fight can under- 
stand pretty well which is referred to, but one unacquainted with 
the topography of the field will find some difficulty in understand- 
ing which of these twin mountains is meant. For the benefit of 
such, I will say from my knowledge of it that Little Round Top 
is in most cases the one referred to in reports. Notwithstanding 
my conviction of the importance of holding and occupying Big 
Round Top with artillery, which I endeavored to communicate to 
Law through Terrell (he never reached General Law until near 
the close of the battle), I considered it my duty to obey the order 
communicated to me by Terrell, whom I knew to be a trustworthy 
and gallant officer; but it was against my judgment to leave that 
strong position. It looked to me to be the key-point of the field, as 
artillery on it would have commanded the other Round Top and 
the Federal line toward Gettysburg as far as it extended along 
Cemetery Ridge ; but the order was to find and turn the left of the 
Union line, and that was on Little Round Top; the battle was 
raging below I therefore caused both regiments to face to the 
left and moved to the left, so as to avoid the precipice in our front, 
and then ordered the line by the right flank forward and passed to 
the left-oblique entirely down the northern side of the mountain 
without encountering any opposition whatever. 


While descending in rear of Vincent's Spur, in plain view was 
the Federal wagon-trains, and less than three hundred yards dis- 
tant was an extensive park of Federal ordnance wagons, which 
satisfied me that we were then in their rear. I ordered Captain 
Shaaf to deploy his company, A, surround and capture the 
ordnance wagons, have them driven in under a spur of the moun- 
tain, and detached his company for the purpose. Advancing rap- 
idly, without any skirmishers in front, the woods being open with- 
out undergrowth, I saw no enemy until within forty or fifty steps 
of an irregular ledge of rocks — a splendid line of natural breast- 
works running about parallel with the front of the Forty-seventh 
regiment and my four left companies, and then sloping back in 
front of my center and right at an angle of about thirty-five or 
forty degrees. Vincent's brigade, consisting of the Sixteenth 
Michigan on the right, Forty-fourth New York, Eighty-third 
Pennsylvania, and Twentieth Maine regiments, reached this posi- 
tion ten minutes before my arrival, and they piled a few rocks 
from boulder to boulder, making the zigzag line more complete, 
and were concealed behind it ready to receive us. From behind 
this ledge, unexpectedly to us, because concealed, they poured into 
us the most destructive fire I ever saw. Our line halted, but did 
not break. The enemy were formed in line as named from their 
right to left. We received the fire of the three left regiments. As 
men fell their comrades closed the gap, returning the fire most 
spiritedly. I could see through the smoke men of the Twentieth 
Maine in front of my right wing running from tree to tree back 
westward toward the main body, and I advanced my right, swing- 
ing it around, overlapping and turning their left. 

At the dedication of the monument on Little Round Top to the 
Forty- fourth New York regiment on July 3, 1893, in delivering 
the oration, Captain Nash, describing the assaults made upon Vin- 
cent's brigade, which held that spur of the mountain during the 
battle of the afternoon of July 2, 1863, among other things said: 

In the meantime the enemy sent a strong flanking column to envelop and 
turn the left of the brigade held by the Twentieth Maine. Success there 
opened to him — vantage ground from which to operate on the flank and rear 
of our entire army. While his regiment was under a heavy fire, with great 
presence of mind Colonel Chamberlain changed direction of his left wing and 
took intervals to the left to meet the new emergency. For an hour the terrible 
contest at this point ensued, the edge of the fight rolling backward and for- 
ward like a wave. 


The flanking column referred to by Captain Nash was mine. 

At the erection of monuments to the Twentieth Maine Regi- 
ment on Little Round Top, October 3, 1889, Capt. Howard L. 
Prince, the historian of that regiment, said in his oration, among 
other things, that — 

Again and again was this mad rush repeated, each time to be beaten off by 
the ever-thinning line that desperately clung to its ledge of rock, refusing to 
yield except as it involuntarily shrunk for a pace or two at a time from the 
storm of lead which swept its front. Colonel Oates himself advanced close 
to our lines at the head of his men, and at times the hostile forces were act- 
ually at hand-to-hand distance. Twice the rebels were followed down the 
slope so sharply that they were obliged to use the bayonet, and in places small 
squads of their men in their charges reached our actual front. The reports 
of both commanders are authority for these statements. The front surged 
backward and forward like a wave. At times our dead and wounded were in 
front of our line, and then by a superhuman effort our gallant lads would 
carry the combat forward beyond their prostrate forms. Continually the gray 
lines crept up by squads under protecting trees and boulders, and the firing 
became at closer and closer range. And even the enemy's line essayed to 
reach around the then front of blue that stretched out in places in single rank 
and could not go much farther without breaking. So far had they extended, 
that their bullets passed beyond and into the ranks of the other regiments 
farther up the hill, and Captain Woodward, commanding the Eighty-third, 
sent his adjutant to ask if the Twentieth had been turned. Colonel Chamber- 
lain assured him that he was holding his ground, but would like a company, if 
possible, to extend his line. Captain Woodward was unable to do this, but 
by shortening his line somewhat, he was able to cover the right of the Twen- 
tieth and enable it to take a little more ground to the left. Meanwhile the 
brigade in front of the hill was hard pushed to hold its own, and the heavy 
roar of musketry in the fitful lulls of our guns came to the anxious ears of our 
commander and told too plainly what would be the result if our line gave way. 
Not a man in that devoted band but knew that the safety of the brigade, and 
perhaps of the army, depended on the steadfastness with which that point was 
held, and so fought on and on, with no hope of assistance, but not a thought 
of giving up. Already nearly half of the little force is prostrate. The dead 
and the wounded clog the footsteps of the living. 

General Chamberlain, who was colonel of the Twentieth Maine, 
afterwards made general for his conduct on that occasion, and 
after the war Governor of Maine, in his address, delivered on the 
same occasion, said : 

All can see what would have become of our brigade swallowed up; of 
Weed's struck in the rear ; of Hazlitt's guns taken in the flank and turned to 
launch their thunder-bolts upon our troops, already sore pressed in the gorge 
at our feet, and the fields upon the great front and right. Round Top lost — 
the day lost — Gettysburg lost — who can tell what for loss thence would follow ! 

Captain Prince, of the Twentieth Maine, in his oration above 
referred to claims that "fifty dead bodies of the Fifteenth Ala- 


bama men were buried in the front of his regiment and about one 
hundred of the badly wounded were left behind to become pris- 
oners." His is an over-estimate of the number of the dead from 
the Fifteenth Alabama. There were present in the seven com- 
panies of the Forty-seventh, as shown by the muster roll, an ag- 
gregate of but 154 men. Only four or five of these were killed 
and about twenty wounded. If they buried fifty dead that in- 
cluded those from the Forty-seventh companies with the Fifteenth 
dead. He was certainly mistaken as to the number badly 
wounded, including both regiments, for several of these — fully 
one-half — went to the Confederate rear. 

Prince also said : "Four hundred prisoners, mostly from the 
Fifteenth and Forty-seventh Alabama, were sent to the rear." 
This is an egregiously mistaken statement. I have examined the 
muster rolls of the companies of the Fifteenth, made soon after 
the battle, in which the names were given of the captured without 
wounds, and there was a total of but eighty-four, most of them 
being with Adjutant Waddell when the retreat was ordered, which 
they did not hear. If every man in the seven companies of the 
Forty-seventh which went into the action (only one hundred and 
fifty- four) were included it would make but two hundred and 
thirty-eight, and we know that at least one hundred and twenty- 
odd of the Forty-seventh escaped and were afterwards in line all 
night. Deduct the killed and wounded from those companies, 
and Captain Prince has but little over half the number of prison- 
ers which he says were taken from those regiments and sent to the 
rear. General Chamberlain fell into the same error. All of us, 
on both sides, who were in such hot places as that were made to 
see double and are disposed to exaggerate in favor of our respec- 
tive sides, and do it honestly in most cases. 

If I had had one more regiment we would have completely 
turned the flank and have won Little Round Top, which would 
have forced Meade's whole left wing to retire. Had the 
Forty-eighth Alabama not been transferred to the left, it would 
have driven the sharp-shooters, and then following my advance, 
we would have gotten in the rear of the Federal line and have 
completely turned the tide of battle in favor of the Confederates. 
With the five companies of skirmishers which had gone to the east 
of the mountain they might have made my assault successful. 
Another lost opportunity. 


I knew that the left of the Forty-seventh was disconnected, I 
knew not how far from the right of the Fourth Alabama, and con- 
sequently was out-flanked on its left and without support. The 
seven companies of that regiment present confronted the Eighty- 
third Pennsylvania and was enfiladed by the left-oblique fire of 
the left wing of the Forty-fourth New York, which was very de- 
structive, and drove the men from the obstructions behind which 
they were sheltering. Lieutenant-Colonel Bulger, in command of 
the Forty-seventh Alabama companies, a most gallant old gentle- 
man over sixty years of age. fell severely wounded, and soon 
afterwards his seven companies, after behaving most gallantly, 
broke, and in confusion retreated southward toward the position 
of the other regiments of the brigade and reached their right. I 
aided their gallant Major Campbell in his efforts to hold them, but 
having no support on the left, they could not be rallied and held to 
the position. When the Fifteenth was driven back, Colonel Bulger 
was left sitting by a tree, sword in hand, shot through one lung 
and bleeding profusely. A captain in the Forty-fourth New 
York approached and demanded his sword. The old Colonel 
said, "What is your rank?" The reply was, "I am a captain." Bul- 
ger said, "Well, I am a lieutenant-colonel, and I will not surren- 
der my sword except to an officer of equal rank." The captain 
then said, "Surrender your sword, or I will kill you." Colonel 
Bulger promptly replied, "You may kill and be d — d! I shall 
never surrender my sword to an officer of lower rank." The cap- 
tain was so amused at the old Colonel's high notions of military 
etiquette that he went for his colonel, Rice, to whom the sword 
was gracefully surrendered. Rice's statement of the circum- 
stances caused Colonel Bulger to be better cared for than he 
would otherwise have been, which probably saved his life.* When 
exchanged in the summer of 1864 he was promoted to the colo- 
nelcy of his regiment, went to the front, and served with it for a 
short time, and was then honorably retired. He was not made 
a brigadier-general, as reported in Vol. VII of Confederate Mil- 
itary History, but returned to his home in Dadeville, Alabama, 
and was elected to the State Senate in August, 1864, where he 
served until the surrender. He was in the Secession Convention. 

*General Chamberlain denies this statement and says that Bulger sur- 
rendered to him. Rice and Bulger are both dead and there is now no living 
witness to verify the statement. The writer derived his information from 
Colonel Bulger. 


in 1 86 1, voted against secession, and refused to sign the ordi- 
nance. But when war came as a consequence, he raised a company 
and fought heroically through the struggle. He was unskilled in 
tactics and lacking in disciplinary power, but he possessed such a 
high order of courage that he was greatly respected by his men, 
who stood bravely with him until he fell. He died in 1900, about 
95 years of age. 

Just as the Forty-seventh companies were being driven back, I 
ordered my regiment to change direction to the left, swing 
around, and drive the Federals from the ledge of rocks, for the 
purpose of enfilading their line, relieving the Forty-seventh — 
gain the enemy's rear, and drive him from the hill. My men 
obeyed and advanced about half way to the enemy's position, 
but the fire was so destructive that my line wavered like a man 
trying to walk against a strong wind, and then slowly, doggedly, 
gave back a little ; then with no one upon the left or right of me, 
my regiment exposed, while the enemy was still under cover, to 
stand there and die was sheer folly; either to retreat or advance 
became a necessity. The Lieutenant-Colonel, I. B. Feagin, had 
lost his leg at Plum Run; the heroic Captain Ellison had fallen, 
while Captain Brainard, one of the bravest and best officers in the 
regiment, in leading his company forward, fell, exclaiming, "O 
God ! that I could see my mother," and instantly expired. Lieu- 
tenant John A. Oates, my dear brother, succeeded to the com- 
mand of the company, but was pierced through by a number of 
bullets, and fell mortally wounded. Lieutentant Cody fell mor- 
tally wounded, Captain Bethune and several other officers were 
seriously wounded, while the carnage in the ranks was appalling. 
I again ordered the advance, and knowing the officers and men 
of that gallant old regiment, I felt sure that they would follow 
their commander anywhere in the line of duty. I passed through 
the line waving my sword, shouting, "Forward, men, to the 
ledge !" and was promptly followed by the command in splendid 
style. We drove the Federals from their strong defensive posi- 
tion ; five times they rallied and charged us, twice coming so near 
that some of my men had to use the bayonet, but in vain was their 
effort. It was our time now to deal death and destruction to a 
gallant foe, and the account was speedily settled. I led this 
charge and sprang upon the ledge of rock, using my pistol within 
musket length, when the rush of my men drove the Maine men 
from the ledge along the line now indicated by stone markers on 


the east end of Vincent's Spur. I have seen a statement from 
General Chamberlain that his right was not forced back beyond 
the point or angle of the rocky ledge, where the right marker of 
his regiment stands. My recollection is quite different. At this 
angle and to the southwest of it is where I lost the greatest number 
of my men. The Twentieth Maine was driven back from this 
ledge, but not farther than to the next ledge on the mountain-side. 
I recall a circumstance which I recollect. I, with my regiment, 
made a rush forward from the ledge. About forty steps up the 
slope there is a large boulder about midway the Spur. The Maine 
regiment charged my line, coming right up in a hand-to-hand 
encounter. My regimental colors were just a step or two to the 
right of that boulder, and I was within ten feet. A Maine man 
reached to grasp the staff of the colors when Ensign Archibald 
stepped back and Sergeant Pat O'Connor stove his bayonet 
through the head of the Yankee, who fell dead. I witnessed that 
"incident, which impressed me beyond the point of being forgotten. 
There never were harder fighters than the Twentieth Maine men 
and their gallant Colonel. His skill and persistency and the great 
bravery of his men saved Little Round Top and the Army of the 
Potomac from defeat. Great events sometimes turn on compara- 
tively small affairs. My position rapidly became untenable. The 
Federal infantry were reported to be coming down on my right 
and certainly were closing in on my rear, while some dismounted 
cavalry were closing the only avenue of escape on my left rear. I 
sent my sergeant-major with a request to Colonel Bowles, of the 
Fourth Alabama, the next in line to the left, to come to my relief. 
He returned within a minute and reported that none of our troops 
were in sight, the enemy to be between us and the Fourth Alabama, 
and swarming the woods south of Little Round Top. The 
lamented Captain Park, who was afterwards killed at Knoxville, 
and Captain Hill, killed near Richmond in 1864, came and 
informed me that the enemy were closing in on our rear. I sent 
Park to ascertain their number. He soon returned, and reported 
that two regiments were coming up behind us, and just then I saw 
them halt behind a fence, some two hundred yards distant, from 
which they opened fire on us. These, I have since learned from 
him, were the battalions of Stoughton's sharp-shooters, each of 
which carried a flag, hence the impression that there were two 
regiments. They had been lost in the woods, but, guided by the 
firing, came up in our rear. At Balaklava Captain Nolan's six 


hundred had cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of 
them, cannon in front of them, which volleyed and thundered. 
But at this moment the Fifteenth Alabama had infantry in front 
of them, to the right of them, dismounted cavalry to the left of 
them, and infantry in the rear of them. With a withering and 
deadly fire pouring in upon us from every direction, it seemed that 
the regiment was doomed to destruction. While one man was 
shot in the face, his right-hand or left-hand comrade was shot in 
the side or back. Some were struck simultaneously with two or 
three balls from different directions. Captains Hill and Park 
suggested that I should order a retreat ; but this seemed impracti- 
cable. My dead and wounded were then nearly as great in num- 
ber as those still on duty. They literally covered the ground. 
The blood stood in puddles in some places on the rocks; 'the 
ground was soaked with the blood of as brave men as ever fell on 
the red field of battle. I still hoped for reenforcements or for the 
tide of success to turn my way. It seemed impossible to retreat 
and I therefore replied to my captains, "Return to your companies ; 
we will sell out as dearly as possible." Hill made no reply, but 
Park smiled pleasantly, gave me the military salute, and said, "All 
right, sir." On reflection a few moments later I saw no hope of 
success and did order a retreat, but did not undertake to retire in 
order. I sent Sergeant-Major Norris (who is now a physician 
residing in Brazil) and had the officers and men advised the best 
I could that when the signal was given that we would not try to 
retreat in order, but every one should run in the direction from 
whence we came, and halt on the top of the Big Round Top 
Mountain. I found the undertaking to capture Little Round 
Top too great for my regiment unsupported. I waited until the 
next charge of the Twentieth Maine was repulsed, as it would 
give my men a better chance to get out unhurt, and then ordered 
the retreat. The historian of that regiment claims that its charge 
drove us from the field. This is not true; / ordered the retreat. 
He was, I believe, the chaplain, and not present to see it. Doubt- 
less he was at prayer a safe distance in the rear. Colonel Cham- 
berlain also reported it and doubtless believed it, but it was just 
as I state — I ordered the retreat. 

When the signal was given we ran like a herd of wild cattle, 
right through the line of dismounted cavalrymen. Some of the 
men as they ran through seized three of the cavalrymen by the 
collar and carried them out prisoners. As we ran, a man named 


Keils, of Company H, from Henry County, who was to my right 
and rear had his throat cut by a bullet, and he ran past me breath- 
ing at his throat and the blood spattering. His wind-pipe was 
entirely severed, but notwithstanding he crossed the mountain 
and died in the field hospital that night or the next morning. 

Captain De B. Waddell, who was then adjutant of the regi- 
ment, when we had reached our most advanced position, about 
one hundred and fifty yards from the top of Little Round Top, 
where the New York monument now stands, came and asked me 
to let him take forty or fifty men from the right wing of 'the 
regiment and advance to some rocks from which to enfilade the 
Union line, the Twentieth Maine and Eighty-third Pennsylvania. 
I authorized it and he had about fifty men behind a ledge 
of rocks or ridge of ground, and doing effective work when 
I ordered the retreat. The firing was so heavy that he did 
not hear the order, but said he saw me and the men near me start 
and knew that it was a retreat. Sergeant-Major Norris when 
communicating to commanders of companies that I would order 
a retreat did not so inform Waddell. He gave the order and 
broke to run. He saw two of his men fall. He escaped, but his 
men were captured. When he reached the foot of the mountain 
he there met Company A. coming out of the woods to the east of 
the position from which we had just retreated. This was the 
company whose captain I had ordered, as we advanced down the 
north side of Great Round Top, to deploy his company in open 
order to surround and capture the train of ordnance wagons. 
Captain Shaaff claimed that there were Union troops in the woods 
east of the wagons and he feared capture of his company if he at- 
tempted to capture the wagons, and desisted in consequence. He 
should then have rejoined the regiment at once, but did not. The 
troops in the woods were Stoughton's sharp-shooters, and 
perhaps Morrell's company of the Twentieth Maine. Waddell 
caused the company to take a stand a short distance up the moun- 
tain-side, where by their fire they checked and turned back the 
Maine men who were pursuing my regiment. When I visited the 
battle-field after the war I could not understand how the trees on 
that side of Round Top near its base were scarred on each side by 
bullets, and why monuments, or markers, were set up there, as I 
thought no battle occurred there. Afterwards Captain Waddell 
(now an Episcopal clergyman at Meridian, Mississippi) ex- 
plained it. 


The absence of Company A from the assault on Little Round 
Top, the capture of the water detail, and the number overcome by 
heat who had fallen out on scaling the rugged mountain, reduced 
my regiment to less than four hundred officers and men who made 
that assault. All these facts I did not know when I made my re- 
port nor when I wrote the article for the Southern Historical So- 
ciety papers in 1878, but close investigation since the war revealed 
them to me. In the hasty manner of writing my report I took as 
a basis of the strength of my regiment its last muster before we 
began the march to Pennsylvania. I also wrote the article after 
the war on the same basis, which was a mistake. When approach- 
ing the top cf the mountain in retreat I made an attempt to halt 
and ret"< >rm the regiment but the men were helping wounded and 
disabled comrades, and scattered in the woods and among the 
rocks, so that it could not then be done. I was so overcome by 
heat and exertion that I fainted and fell, and would have been 
captured but f< >r two stalwart, powerful men of the regiment, who 
carried me to the top of the mountain, where Dr. Reeves, the as- 
H-tant surgeon, poured water on my head from a canteen until it 
revived me. I never can forget those two men, for I dreaded a 
pris. .n in. ,re than death. When I revived I turned over the com- 
mand of the regiment to Captain Hill temporarily, with directions 
to retire to the open field at the foot of the mountain on the line 
of our advance. This was between sunset and dark; the fighting 
along our line had prettv well ceased. It had been terrific all 
along I.ongstrect s front. I lis seventeen thousand men had done 
the best fighting of any equal number of troops during the war, 
but had not accomplished anything in the way of substantial re- 

bees plan for 1 .ongstreet's attack was up the Emmitsburg 
Road, beginning with the right brigade, which was Law's, where 
I was. Had General Longstreet been where the attack began, he 
would have seen the necessity of protecting my flank from the as- 
sault of I mted States sharp-shooters. Had that been done, I 
rfi ^ lth * h f six hundred veterans I had, have reached Little 
can il I°I ^ Vm u ce f s bri gade did and would easily have 

S^seen tne F ? r e '^ hlC , V" 1 * have WOn the battle " °r had 
reached t t^nTr ?t Fo yT-seventh regiments when they 


conduct of the war, was the key to his position. With that in our 
possession he could not have held any of the ground which he 
subsequently held to the last, for it was the key-point of his posi- 
tion. Instead of this, General Longstreet was near the other end 
of his line, more than a mile away from his right, and never knew 
that those regiments passed over the top of Big Round Top until 
years after the battle, when he saw it in print. 

Though he may not have approved Lee's plan, it was his duty 
to have loyally and to the best of his ability executed that plan. 
Had he done so, I have no doubt of the success of the attack. Gen- 
eral Lee was at fault for failing to have Longstreet's two divis- 
ions, then on the field (except Law's brigade), seize the Round 
Tops in the forenoon, when there were no Union troops on them. 
When the assault was made at 3.30 P M. neither of these 
mountains were occupied in force, but Sickles's corps was ad- 
vanced beyond and obstructed a direct attack on Little Round 
Top. Longstreet was responsible and at fault for the negligent 
and bungling manner in which it was done. The change made in 
his line by General Sickles, which was unknown to General Lee, 
greatly impaired his plan ; but notwithstanding his shrewd change 
and its tendency to thwart the plan, yet had Longstreet skilfully 
and loyally, instead of sullenly and disapprovingly, executed it, 
he would have won the battle. When he found the change in 
Sickles's lines, of which he knew that General Lee was not aware, 
he should have adopted General Hood's suggestion to turn the 
flank and attack in the rear ; but because Lee had ordered him to 
attack in a particular way, he would not change, though he knew 
that if Lee himself had been present he would have changed the 
order of attack when he discovered the change in Sickles's line 
which made it necessary. 

General Longstreet in his book (p. 408) throws all the blame 
on Lee for not riding with him and personally directing his attack, 
as follows : 

We were left to our own resources in finding ground upon which to organ- 
ize for battle. The enemy had changed position somewhat after the march was 
ordered, but as we were not informed of his position before the march, we could 
not know of the change. The Confederate commander did not care to ride near 
us, to give information of a change to assist in preparing for attack, nor to in- 
quire if new and better combinations might be made. 

General Lee mistakenly supposed that Longstreet understood 
the situation, position of the enemy, etc., and possessed the ability 


and patriotism sufficient to make that attack wisely without his 

General Longstreet disapproved the plan of attack because Lee 
was departing from the policy, declared by him before he moved 
from Virginia, of an aggressive defensive campaign, which Long- 
street approved. He may have been right ; it may have been best 
for Lee to have flanked Meade out of his strong position and have 
forced him to attack and thus to have acted on the defensive. Lee 
gave his reasons why he did not pursue that course, which were 
well-nigh conclusive. Longstreet had no right to sulk because of 
this change of policy. Sulking was disloyalty to his chief. If 
his conduct was not half-hearted and wilful, then the only expla- 
nation of it is that he was a failure as a general, and no one be- 
lieves that. Hood saw the necessity, and insisted on a change of 
the plan of attack, but because Lee had ordered it, without a 
knowledge of Sickles's change of lines, Longstreet obeyed Lee's 
order literally — although Hood showed him the necessity of a 
change — and by his mulishness lost the greatest battle of the war. 
General Law fully concurred in Hood's views. A supposition 
that Hood's request would be granted may account for Law's skir- 
mishers passing around Big Round Top to the east and thus miss- 
ing the battle. 

Early on the morning of the 2d General Meade expected Lee 
to attack him on his right, and determined to attack Lee before 
the latter moved against him. At 9.30 A. M. he ordered Slocum, 
who commanded the Twelfth and Fifth Corps, constituting the 
right wing of the Union army, to get ready to attack, and that he 
would give the signal as soon as the Sixth Corps arrived within 
supporting distance. Slocum — whom General Sherman after- 
wards said was as capable of commanding 80,000 men as he was — 
carefully examined the ground in his front, with its uneven sur- 
face, woods, hills and streams, and reported to Meade adversely 
and advised against making the attack. General Meade then sur- 
veyed the field with the view of attacking by his front, or left, and 
then summoned his corps commanders to a conference. Sickles 
did not come, but sent word that his corps, on the extreme left, 
was threatened with an attack and that he could not leave. There- 
upon Meade sent him a peremptory order to attend the conference 
at once. Sickles then went, and as he rode up, Longstreet's guns 
opened upon his lines. Meade told him not to dismount, but re- 
turn to his command. Meade reenforced him heavily and saved 


him from utter rout. The assault of Longstreet was the opening 
of the battle of that day. Slocum's decision and advice were 
wise. Had Slocum made that attack it would have been on 
Ewell's corps, which would have allowed Longstreet's and Hill's 
corps to advance against the Third and Second — Sickles's and 
Hancock's corps — which were inferior numerically, and they 
would have been driven back against Meade's attacking column, 
which Ewell could have held at bay for a time. Lee would have 
thus gained the advantage of position and Meade would inev- 
itably have lost the battle. Slocum's advice and Sickles's wise 
disposition of his corps saved Meade from dishonor and the Army 
of the Potomac from defeat — two New York Union Democrats. 

Inasmuch as General Lee did not have Longstreet seize the 
Round Tops in the forenoon, he had better have awaited the re- 
sults of that conference; and had it been to attack him it would 
have been to his advantage, for as Stonewall Jackson said on his 
death bed, "My troops sometimes fail to drive the enemy from 
their position, but theirs always fail to drive my men from their 
position." But of course Lee was not aware of that conference. 

The Yankees did not occupy the top of Big Round Top until 
after dark. It was dark when my regiment reached the valley, 
and here we bivouacked for the night. After all had gotten up, I 
ordered the roll of the companies to be called. When the battle 
commenced, four hours previously, mine was the strongest and 
finest regiment in Hood's division. Its effectives numbered about 
five hundred officers and men. Now two hundred and twenty- 
three enlisted men answered at roll-call, and more than one-half 
of the officers had been left on the field — only nineteen answered 
to their names ; but some of the officers and men came up in the 
course of the night and next morning, who had been overcome by 
the heat during the advance the previous evening. 

Some of the men that night voluntarily went back across the 
mountain, and in the darkness penetrated the Federal lines, for 
the purpose of removing some of our wounded. They reached 
the scene and started out with some of the wounded officers, but 
were discovered and shot at by the Federal pickets, and had in 
consequence to leave the wounded, but succeeded in getting back 
to the regiment, and brought to me Lieutenant Cody's knife and 
pocket-book. These men reported to me that Big Round Top 
was, even at that late hour, occupied by only a thin skirmish line. 
I am sorry that I do not remember the names of those brave men 



who voluntarily went within the enemy's lines to relieve and save 
from capture wounded comrades. 

Soon after the advance began the gallant Lieut.-Col. Isaac B. 
Feagin was shot through the knee, which necessitated amputation 
of the limb. The major was voluntarily with the wagon-train, 
and consequently I had no field officer to assist me. I discovered 
some time before we reached Gettysburg that my brother, Lieut. 
John A. Oates, had fallen behind some distance, and was reported 
sick. I sent back a horse for him and he came up. Just before we 
advanced I went to him where he was lying on the ground in rear 
of his company, and saw at once that he was sick. I thereupon 
told him not to go into the action, but when we advanced to re- 
main where he was, because he was unable to bear the fatigue. 
He replied, with the most dogged and fiery determination, 
"Brother, I will not do it. If I were to remain here people would 
say that I did it through cowardice ; no, sir, I am an officer and 
will never disgrace the uniform I wear ; I shall go through, unless 
I am killed, which I think is quite likely." These were the last 
words ever passed between us. When he fell, struck by several 
balls, Lieut. Isaac H. Parks, who had been his school-fellow, ran 
to him and dragged him behind a large stone, and just as Parks 
let him down another ball struck one of his hands and carried 
away his little finger. Parks was for many years after the 
war a prominent lawyer at Rutledge, Crenshaw County, Ala- 
bama, and represented his county in both branches of the legisla- 
ture, and in the Constitutional Convention of 1875, an d died in 
1900. Lieutenant Cody, a boy about eighteen years old, the best 
officer I ever saw of his age, except Major Latimer, of the artil- 
lery, fell near my brother, mortally wounded. When we re- 
treated they, with most of our wounded and eighty-four men who 
were not, were taken prisoners, and the wounded were removed 
to the Federal field hospital, where they were as well cared for as 
wounded soldiers in the hands of an enemy ever are. Cody lived 
twenty-one and my brother twenty-three days. A Miss Lightner, 
a Virginia lady and Southern sympathizer, nursed them to the 
last, and Doctor Reid, of the One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Penn- 
sylvania Regiment, did all that he could for them and had them 
decently buried when they died. He sent to me by flag of truce 
my brother's old gold watch, his pocket-book, and money. I en- 
deavored for years after the war to find Doctor Reid, without suc- 
cess, but finally obtained his address, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 


and had a very pleasant and satisfactory correspondence with him. 
I had theretofore never had an opportunity of expressing to him 
the full measure of my gratitude for his attention to my brother 
and Lieutenant Cody. The dear, good ministering angel, Miss 
Lightner, has long since passed beyond the arena of bloody battles 
and grim death, to reap that priceless reward which is promised to 
the charitable and the good. Some of our wounded were not 
treated so well. Some were not removed from the places where 
they fell for two or three days. Sergeant Johns, of Company B, 
had one of his thighs broken, and lay where he fell, in all the hard 
rain of the 3d and 4th days of July, and was not removed until the 
battle was over and Lee on his way back to Virginia. He lay on 
his back, could not turn, and kept from drowning by putting his 
hat over his face. He recovered, and was alive several years after 
the war, and living in Texas. 

Capt. J. Henry Ellison was a son of the Rev. Dr. Ellison, a dis- 
tinguished Methodist divine. When I gave the order to change 
direction to the left to drive the Twentieth Maine Regiment, he 
did not hear it with distinctness. He stepped toward me, and 
placing his hand behind his ear inquired, "What is the order, 
Colonel ?" I repeated it. He turned to his company and cried 
out, "Forward, my men; forward!" and fell shot through the 
head. I saw the ball strike him; that is, I was looking at him 
when it did. He fell upon his left shoulder, turned upon his back, 
raised his arms, clenched his fists, gave one shudder, his arms 
fell, and he was dead. He wore that day a very fine captain's uni- 
form which I had presented to him after my promotion, and I 
thought at the moment of his death that he was the handsomest 
and finest specimen of manhood that ever went down upon a field 
of carnage. 

There was no better regiment in the Confederate Army than the 
Fifteenth Alabama, and when properly commanded, if it failed to 
carry any point against which it was thrown no other single regi- 
ment need try it. The long and rapid march, the climb of Great 
Round Top's rugged front without water impaired its power of 
endurance, but it fought hard and persistently until ordered to re- 
treat. The other regiments of the brigade did their duty at Get- 
tysburg, but the Fifteenth struck the hardest knot. 

The following from the pen of Col. W F Perry describes "The 
Devil's Den" and the assault of his regiment, the Forty-fourth 
Alabama, upon it : 


Large rocks, from six to fifteen feet high, are thrown together in confusion 
over a considerable area, and yet so disposed as to leave everywhere among 
them winding passages carpeted with moss. Many of its recesses are never 
visited by the sunshine, and a cavernous coolness pervades the air within it. 

A short distance to the east the frowning bastions of Little Round Top 
rise 200 feet above the level of the plain. An abrupt elevation, thirty or forty 
feet high, itself buttressed with rocks, constitutes the western boundary of this 
strange formation. 

The view was imposing. Little Round Top, crowned with artillery, re. 
sembled a volcano in eruption ; while the hillock near the Devil's Den resem- 
bled a small one. The distance between them, diminished by the view in per- 
spective, appeared as a secondary crater near its base. It was evident that a 
formidable task was before us. 

The enemy were as invisible to us as we were to them. The presence of 
a battery of artillery of course implied the presence of a strong supporting force 
of infantry. Of its strength, its position, and the nature of its defenses we 
were in total ignorance. We were soon to learn. As the line emerged from 
the woods into the open space mentioned above, a sheet of flame burst from 
the rocks less than fifty yards away. A few scattering shots in the beginning 
gave warning in time for my men to fall down, and thus largely to escape the 
effect of the main volley. They doubtless seemed to the enemy to be all dead, 
but the volley of the fire which they immediately returned proved that they were 
very much alive. 

No language can express the intensity of the solicitude with which I sur- 
veyed the strange, wild situation which had suddenly burst upon my view. 
Upon the decision of a moment depended the honor of my command, and per- 
haps the lives of many brave men. I knew that, if called upon, they would 
follow me, and felt confident that the place could be carried by an impetuous 
charge. But then what? There were no supporting troops in sight. A heavy 
force of the enemy might envelop and overpower us. It was certain that we 
should be exposed to a plunging, enfilading fire from Little Round Top. And 
yet, the demoralization and shame of a retreat, and an exposure to be shot in 
the back were not to be thought of. 

Before the enemy had time to load their guns a decision was made. Leap- 
ing over the prostrate line before me, I shouted the order, "Forward!" and 
started for the rocks. The response was a bound, a yell, and a rush, and in 
ten seconds my men were pouring into the Den, and the enemy were escaping 
from the opposite side. A few prisoners were taken. Two soldiers of the 
Fourth Maine Regiment surrendered to me in person at the edge of the rocks 
as my line overtook and passed me. 

In the charge the left wing of the regiment struck the hill on which the 
artillery were stationed, and the center and the right swept into the rocks east 
of it. Maj. George W. Carey led the left wing up the hill, and bounding over 
the rocks on its crest, landed among the artillerymen ahead of the line, and 
received their surrender. One of the officers of the battery, whom I met soon 
after, complimented his gallantry and that of his men in the highest terms. 
The Major a few moments later found me near the foot of the hill, com- 
pletely prostrated by heat and excessive exertion. He exhibited several 
swords as an evidence that the artillery had surrendered, and complained that 
guns from both sides were playing upon the position. This I knew to be true 
as to the Federal side. At the very entrance of the labyrinth a spherical case- 
shot from Round Top had exploded very near my head and thrown its deadly 
contents against a rock almost within my reach. He was ordered to hurry 
back and withdraw the men from the crest so that they could find shelter on 
the sides of the hill. 

In a very short time he came back in great haste and informed me that a 
force of the enemy large enough to envelop our position was moving down 


upon us. I sprang to my feet with the intention of climbing the hill to see the 
situation and determine what to do ; but found myself unable to stand without 
support. While we were anxiously discussing the situation a line of battle, 
moving in splendid style, swept in from Seminary Ridge upon the left, and 
met the threatening force. One of us remarked, "There is Benning; we are 
all right now." Benning's march was so directed that his right lapped upon 
my left, and poured over the hill upon which were the abandoned guns. 

A furious battle now began along his entire line, as well as my own, which 
had pressed through to the north side of the rocks. It has always been to 
me a source of sincere regret that my disability, which continued until after 
nightfall, prevented me from seeing anything that occurred after the arrival 
of Benning's line. 

My loss was comparatively light, considering the desperate character of the 
fighting. This was due to three causes : The happy dodge given the first vol- 
ley of the enemy, the rush made upon them before they had time to reload, and 
the protection afterwards afforded by the rocks. The killed and wounded 
numbered ninety-two, a little over one-fourth of those who went into action. 

Thus ended the second day's fighting. 



The Lessons of the Second Day's Fighting Not Heeded — The Arrival of Stu- 
art, and What Was Expected of Him — The Greatest Artillery Duel the 
World Ever Knew — Pickett's Charge — The Cotton States Troops Versus 
the Border States — General Farnsworth's Attempt to Take a Confederate 
Battery — The Fifteenth Leaves the Field Without Orders — Awaiting An 
Attack — Responsibility for the Loss of the Battle — Some Deductions 
'Based on Possibilities — Casualties of the Battle. 

The desperate righting of the 2d had accomplished no sub- 
stantial results. The great question with General Lee was 
whether to give up the contest on that field and withdraw or make 
a further effort. It was a momentous question. If he withdrew 
it was an acknowledgment, not that he was beaten, but that he 
had failed to beat Meade, which, the way things are accepted by 
the world, would be considered a defeat ; the purpose of the inva- 
sion as having failed, a degree of demoralization would pervade 
the army, and the people of the entire Confederacy would feel 
despondent. As a wise commander he would not have ordered 
the assault, but other considerations urged him to the desperate 
undertaking. If he made another effort and failed it would be 
only a defeat, but with a heavy loss of men, and by a desperate 
effort he might possibly meet with success. But it was a great 
risk to take. Longstreet advised against the third day's attack. 

One of the prominent characteristics of General Lee was his 
boldness and the hazardous moves he many times made. Meade 
during the night of the 2d strengthened his already strong and 
almost impregnable position. The disadvantage of Lee's position 
was that at least a mile of open wheat-field interposed between it 
and the position held by the Union troops. 

To traverse this open space under the fire of massed artillery 
and a double line of infantry behind a stone wall was too hazard- 
ous and success too near impossible. General Longstreet says in 
his book that he strenuously advised against it and still insisted 


on turning Meade's left and flanking him out of position. Lee, 
with all his robust daring and adventurous spirit, should not have 
ordered the impossible, as was apparent to the skilled observer. 
But about nightfall of the 2d General Stuart reported to his chief. 
Lee then resolved to try the desperate venture and directed him 
to move all of his available cavalry during that night through the 
woods in rear and to the left of Ewell's corps and get to a position 
from which after the Confederate artillery ceased its fire he could 
charge right into the rear of the Federal line and endeavor to 
meet the head of the assaulting column of Pickett. General 
Stuart made his way as far as practicable that night. But at 
daylight his movement was discovered and his column was soon 
confronted by a superior force of cavalry under General Gregg, 
supported by infantry and artillery. Stuart maneuvered for 
position, but could not get an advantageous one. The men and 
horses of the splendid brigades of Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee and 
William H. F Lee were tired, fatigued and worn down by their 
long ride, constant vigils and loss of sleep, but this occasion was 
to be the culmination of their most superhuman efforts. If they 
could make a grand charge in the rear which would enable the 
Pickett assault in front to cut the Union army in twain, the cup of 
Stuart's glory and that of his alert and invincible cavalry would 
be full to overflowing. This was the immense stake to be won 
if possible. 

In front all the forenoon was spent in placing batteries and 
arranging the charging column, under Longstreet's direction, 
who was habitually slow ; he had no faith in the success of the 
battle from the first and did not wish to direct this grand assault. 

Pickett's division arrived early that morning and were the only 
fresh troops which had not been engaged. That division belonged 
to Longstreet's corps and to him was assigned the duty of arrang- 
ing and conducting the proposed assault. He did not approve 
it — his heart was not in it. One hundred and fifty guns — more 
than one-half of all that were in Lee's army — were put in position 
under the direction of General Alexander, chief of artillery of 
Longstreet's corps. 

A. little after 12 o'clock, at a given signal, all these guns opened 
fire upon the Federals along Cemetery Ridge and were at once 
replied to by at least an equal number. It was the most powerful 
cannonade that ever occurred in the world's history of warfare. 
The ground fairly trembled, the air was sulphurous and full of 


smoke, caissons were blown up, guns dismounted, horses killed 
and for two hours the earth was torn in holes by the bursting 
shells. The bombardment at Toulon in 1793 under young Napo- 
leon was more terrible in its destructiveness, but with less than 
one-third as many guns. 

The Union General Sickles said : "Lee's 200 guns, answered 
by as many on our side, made but little impression on our lines." 
The reason was that their infantry were all protected by the stone 
fence, and earthworks thrown up the night before, and most oi 
their men lay behind the crest of the ridge. Soon after the great 
battle of the batteries ceased and as the smoke lifted Pickett's 
division of 5,000 men — fifteen Virginia regiments, formed in 
column of brigades — supported on the right by Wilcox's five 
Alabama regiments and on the left by Pender's division of North 
Carolinians, began a rapid advance against the center of the 
Union line. The column was at least three-quarters of a mile 
wide, three lines deep, and contained 15,000 men. 

All was silent until this immense column, moving rapidly for- 
ward to the assault, came within range of the Federal line, when 
a terrible artillery fire was opened on the determined men. They 
were soon in range of the small arms ; as men fell the ranks closed 
up and kept right on. General Sickles said : "Longstreet's col- 
umn advancing toward Cemetery Ridge was torn by our artillery 
and crushed by the fire of Hancock's infantry and disappeared like 
ocean waves dashing against a rock-ribbed shore." 

When about half the distance had been traversed, without send- 
ing any order to Wilcox, Pickett changed his column by the left 
flank, half a brigade's length, which made a gap between him 
and Wilcox of about two hundred yards. Why he did this the 
writer was never able to learn and Wilcox said years afterwards 
that it was never explained to him. General Longstreet states in 
his book that it was because the Union line on their right over- 
lapped the Confederate assaulting column. It was a fatal mistake. 

General Pickett himself halted at a barn about three hundred 
yards from the position of the Union troops and remained there 
until his division was repulsed. This opening exposed Pickett's 
right flank to the fire of Stanard's Vermont brigade. General 
Stanard changed front forward on first company of the first bat- 
talion and brought his whole brigade in line exactly on the flank 
of Pickett's column. Wilcox was too hotly engaged in front to 
turn on Stanard. Pickett's men rushed forward to, and some of 


them over, the stone fence, behind which lay two or three lines 
of battle. It is called "Pickett's charge" because he commanded 
the division of direction, but Brigadier-General Armi stead, whose 
brigade was in support, led the charge when near the works and 
he was killed inside the Union line while holding up his cap on 
the point of his sword as a guide to his men. That spot is marked 
by a stone monument with raised letters on it, "High tide of the 
rebellion." Garnett's brigade came gallantly up to the stone wall 
and he was killed; Kemper's next, who was wounded and cap- 
tured. Pickett's column was broken. Trimble, who succeeded 
General Pender when that officer was killed or mortally wounded 
in the advance with Pettigrew, came up on a line with Pickett's 
men, but was shot, from which he lost his leg, and the whole 
column was repulsed with heavy loss. He was then sixty-five 
years of age. He lived near thirty years after and died in Balti- 
more, an utterly unreconstructed rebel, in 1889. 

Pickett lost all of his brigadiers and field officers except one 
major. Only 1,300 of the 5,000 returned from the charge. But 
I do not wish to be understood as asserting that they were all 
killed or wounded, for many hundreds of them — a majority — 
surrendered unhurt. The point assaulted was a very strong one 
by nature, which had been made still stronger by the engineers 
and pioneer corps the night before. Meade had double lines of 
infantry, hundreds of pieces of artillery, strong reserves, and was 
defended by batteries under the command of able and experienced 
officers. It was a perfect Gibraltar. The assault was made most 
gallantly by troops who had never been whipped upon any field 
and had often won victories against double their number. They 
had the utmost confidence in General Lee and the officers nearer 
to them. But no troops can long withstand a heavy fire in front 
and on the flank at the same time. Had it been otherwise possible 
for Pickett's column to have bisected Meade's army, that gap 
between him and Wilcox was fatal. 

With that open space between him and Wilcox, Pickett invited 
ruin and it came. General Hancock was standing near the left 
of the line of Stanard's Vermont brigade of fresh troops, and his 
eagle eye saw the exposure of Pickett's flank and he was quick to 
take advantage of it. The very object of a support on the flank 
of a charging column is to prevent just what occurred here. 
Pickett at the barn never tried to close the gap. Wilcox told the 
writer that he did not receive any order to keep closed on Pickett 


and that he kept straight ahead, because no order came to him. 
But he was a West Pointer, an educated and experienced soldier, 
and knew the danger of such a gap and should have, even without 
orders, conformed to the movement of Pickett's column. Long- 
street, who was conducting the grand assault, should have so 
ordered him. Stanard, just as Hancock was wounded, changed 
front forward and formed his line squarely on the flank of Pick- 
ett's column and a few volleys made more than 1,500 of the men 
surrender. As soon as this was accomplished, Stanard's line 
about-faced and moved to the attack of Wilcox's flank, and this, 
with the fire which his brigade was receiving in front, drove him 
from the field with decimated ranks. The demoralization pro- 
duced instantly by Stanard's maneuvers, with a heavy fire from 
a double line of infantry in front, was enough to repel the most 
determined assault of the bravest veterans. Years after the war 
General Stanard accompanied the writer to the field and showed 
him the ground upon which these maneuvers occurred. Stanard 
having lost one arm, I, being a member of Congress, voted to 
increase his pension from fifty to one hundred dollars per month. 

The total casualties in Pickett's division — killed, wounded and 
captured — in round numbers was 2,900. The total number in 
Hood's division of the day before was 2,300, but only 450 of 
these were captured. 

Pickett's men were good soldiers and the people of that State 
just as hospitable, patriotic and noble as any in the world, but 
they did not do all the hard fighting and perform all the desperate 
deeds of valor. The North Carolinians on the left of Pickett's 
column went as far at Gettysburg as the Virginians did, and were 
under as heavy a fire, but they were not flanked and a less number 
of them surrendered as prisoners. 

Without the least prejudice I do believe now and thought so 
all along through the war, that the men from the Cotton States 
(and the farther west the more so) were better soldiers and 
harder fighters than those from the Border States. 

The absence of philosophic reason for this apparent difference 
for a long time puzzled me, but I finally attributed it to the differ- 
ence between the frontiersman and the citizen of more refined and 
regular habits of the older States. I therefore believe, having 
inspected the position since the war, that had Hood's division, 
with him to handle it and fresh as it was before the fight of the 
previous day, composed as it was of Georgians, Alabamians and 


Texans (one regiment being from Arkansas) made that charge, 
with proper supports, notwithstanding the double lines of Union 
soldiers with heavy reserves behind that stone fence, the position 
would have been carried and held. But in justice to Pickett's 
division, it must be admitted that at Gettysburg Hood's was 2,500 
men the stronger, two of Pickett's best brigades having been left 
in Virginia. 

General Stuart tried hard to carry out Lee's instructions. He 
tried to charge into Meade's rear, but the resistance he met with 
was too great. It was a grand combat which ensued. Years 
after the battle General Sickles said : "General Stuart's cavalry 
sent by Lee to assault our rear while the Confederate army attack- 
ed in front was driven back by Gregg. Twelve thousand sabres 
flashing in the July sun, the tread of twelve thousand horses 
charging over the turf revealed the greatest cavalry combat ever 
seen on this continent." Many dusty gray and blue young riders, 
amidst the deadly roar of musketry, the sharp rattle of carbines, 
the flashing of sabres and the thunders of the artillery, embraced 
the sleep that knows no waking in this world. Hampton, Stu- 
art's first lieutenant, was seriously wounded and his repulse was 
complete. Lee was not whipped, but his bold assaults upon 
Meade's front and rear had been repulsed with heavy losses — 
it may well be said irreparable ones, yet the morale of that superb 
army of earnest patriots was still unbroken. Their confidence in 
the skill of their commander remained unshaken, though he had 
ordered them to perform an impossibility — they had been repulsed 
and were torn and bleeding.* 

On the morning of the 3d of July Law's brigade still consti- 
tuted the right of the Confederate line and lay along the second 
foot, up near the abrupt rise on the south side of Big Round Top. 
my regiment on the right. The old rocks piled up as breastworks 
still mark the place where the brigade lay. Kilpatrick's Union 
cavalry were in the woods just on our right flank, which necessi- 
tated the extension of a line of pickets for some distance south- 
ward and nearly at right angles to our line. Sharp-shooters from 
the top of the mountain made it a very precarious business for 
our men to go down to our rear for water. A member of the 

* Longstreet said in his book (p. 404) : "Forty thousand men, unsupported 
as we were, could not have carried the position at Gettysburg. * * * It is 
simply out of the question for a lesser force to march over broad, open fields 
and carry a fortified front occupied by a greater force of seasoned troops." 


Fourth Alabama, on picket and acting as a scout on our southern 
line, overheard in the woods some loud talk between Generals 
Kilpatrick and Farnsworth and reported it to General Law at 
once, by which he was enabled to prepare for what was coming. 
It seems that Kilpatrick ordered Farnsworth to take a squadron, 
or battalion of cavalry, and charge through our skirmish line and 
capture a six-gun North Carolina battery in our rear, Captain 
Riley, a burly old Irishman, commanding. Farnsworth protested 
against it until Kilpatrick said, "By God, if you are afraid to go, 
I will lead the charge myself!" This so piqued Farnsworth, who 
had but recently been promoted, that he resolved to lead the 
charge, and did so. He first encountered the First Texas Regi- 
ment lying behind a low fence, which was charged over, the Texas 
regiment having been deployed as skirmishers, and he went for 
the battery; but the fire from it and a Georgia regiment and a 
cooking detail on the south caused him to circle around to the 
west side of the battery, but here he found the Fourth Alabama 
advancing to meet him. He turned and assailed the battery again, 
which kept up a constant eruption of grape and canister. His 
men attacked with their sabres, and a gunner knocked two of 
them off their horses with a rammer. I had been ordered from 
the right to move with all possible expedition to the relief of the 
battery. This I did, rear in front. I did not take time to coun- 
ter-march, but threw out a few skirmishers as we moved. 

We passed through an open space and crossed Plum Run, the 
same little muddy stream I described in detailing our first ad- 
vance, and as we rose the ascent in a copse of woods some eight 
or ten cavalrymen came in between us and the battery. One of its 
guns just at this moment fired a double charge of canister-shot 
at the cavalry, which, missing them, came over our heads and 
through the ranks, making a noise resembling that of the wings 
of a covey of young partridges, but did us no damage. The offi- 
cer commanding the cavalry, with pistol in hand, ordered the 
skirmishers to surrender, to which they replied with a volley. 
The cavalry commander, his horse, and one of his men fell to the 
ground, and the others dashed away. Lieutenant Adrian, com- 
manding the skirmishers, with a carbine in hand, advanced and 
said to the wounded officer, who still grasped his pistol and was 
trying to rise, notwithstanding he had received three severe and 
perhaps mortal wounds, "Now you surrender." With an oath 
he swore he would not do it, and placing his pistol to his own 


body shot himself through the heart. I halted my regiment and 
allowed the men to rest where they were. The lieutenant with 
the skirmishers was Adrian, of the Forty-fourth Alabama Regi- 
ment, who was only temporarily with us, having left his own regi- 
ment with the carbine, as he said, to try to capture a horse from 
the cavalry. 

I had the facts above related as to the death of Farnsworth 
stated to me then and there by Adrian, and from what I saw at a 
distance of not more than fifty steps I am satisfied of their truth. 
I did not go to the dead man at once, but sat down to rest. One 
of my skirmishers soon came and said, "Colonel, don't you want 
that Yankee major's shoulder straps?" holding them up before 
me. He supposed that the dead man's rank was that of major 
because he had but one star on each shoulder strap — a single star 
on the coat collar indicating that rank among the Confederates. I 
took them and saw at once he was a general, and went to the body. 
The men were coming up to it in little squads and looking at the 
dead man in silent amazement on account of Lieutenant Adrian's 
statement. Upon examination I found letters in his breast-pocket 
addressed to Gen. E. J. Farnsworth. I read enough to see that 
one of the letters was from his wife. I then destroyed them to 
prevent their falling into the hands of irresponsible parties. The 
monument which has been erected to him of cannon balls is at 
least one hundred and fifty yards north of where he fell. A short 
time after this incident, now late in the afternoon, I was ordered 
to take up an advanced position in the woods facing east and at 
right angles to our line at the base of Round Top, but separated 
from it by a half mile or more southward. The rain, which in- 
variably succeeds a heavy battle, came pouring down. There 
was a strong line of dismounted cavalrymen within one hundred 
yards of our front. Night drew on, and I had not received any 
order. I was there in obedience to an order. The surroundings 
presented the most weird and lonely appearance. The dead lay 
scattered through the drear and sombre woods ; the fast-scudding 
clouds overhead shut out all save just enough light, at short in- 
tervals, to get a glimpse of the solemn scenes around us. Not a 
sound was heard; the stillness was awful. I knew, intuitively, 
that there was something wrong. I felt it, and could not have 
given any other reason for my apprehension. I started to ride 
back through the woods toward the place where we had left our 
comrades, to ascertain the state of affairs. Before I had gone a 


hundred yards I heard a gun or pistol cap explode a short distance 
from me. I turned, rode back, and called for Sergt. Wm. R. Hol- 
ley, of my old company, a brave soldier, but a very cautious, 
watchful, prudent, and sensible man. (He died at his home in 
Henry County in 1880.) I told Holley in a low tone what had 
occurred, and ordered him to creep through the woods, observing 
everything right and left closely, until he could discover what was 
there, and then report to me. I rode back a short distance and 
waited. The leaves were wet. and he glided noiselessly forward; 
I could not hear him walk. Within a short time Holley returned 
and reported in his usual broad accent, "A line of Yankees out 
thar I went up close to some of them , they are thar sho." I 
\v;i< satisfied of the truth of it. Mv videtes reported the enemy 
still near within one hundred yards in front of us. It was after 
night tall, very dark, with Yankees near to us in front and rear. 
Yo orders came, and I was satisfied none would come, except 
from our enemies, and that would be to surrender whenever they 
found us isolated from the main body of our troops. I resolved 
to at upon my own judgment, abandon the post without orders, 
and get out of there. I knew the penalty for disobedience of or- 
ders and abandoning my pi >st in the presence of the enemy — it was 
infamous death if I made a mistake. I was sure of my position, 
and I took the responsibility, grave as it was. I therefore drew 
in the videttcs from mv left and front, faced the regiment to the 
right, and ordered the men silently to march after me. No man 
^poke above a whisper nor made any noise. After performing a 
considerable circuit, the rain pouring down at intervals, we got 
into the open held and marched westward until we heard troops 
in our front building breastworks. I -did not know which side, 
but ventured, and to our great relief found our place in the line of 
Long-street's corps, and thus escaped from a most perilous situa- 
ti< »n. \\ e were fortunate, too, in reaching that line at our brigade. 
_ I then learned that late that evening the greater portion of the 
unon army had been massed to move against Longstreet and 
rWri , ."\ and that l' lls t as the movement began General Lee or- 
tion tV° ^ hre °" a Ime with HilI ' s ^rps, and fortify his posi- 
anv ord I? tr °° ps were the » busily engaged in doing. If 
ft Colonel Sheffl ??* *? T t0 withdraw? I never received 

movement blgan h/s? nt To^^X^^^^ 


order to me to withdraw, but the courier was captured and did 
not reach me. The Union army had advanced, and I was nearly 
surrounded, and happened to take the only safe retreat. Had I 
obeyed orders I and all of those with me would have finished our 
service as prisoners of war, a thing I always dreaded more than 
the bullets of the enemy. 

The next day, July 4, we celebrated by awaiting an attack of 
the Federals, but they came not. Thus far the Confederates had 
done all the attacking. They awaited our assaults. Now that 
they were on their own soil they acted strictly on the defensive, 
and thereby obtained the advantage of selecting their position. 
That was just what Longstreet desired Lee to do. But his sup- 
plies might soon have been exhausted, and he was too far from his 
base to readily or easily replenish ; hence his defensive policy was 
annulled by Meade's defensive or waiting policy. Under the cir- 
cumstances it was masterful in Meade. Lee could not wait; he 
had to be moving ; he could not wait when so far from his base of 
supplies, and Meade perceived the situation. 

As Meade would not assault him in the open field, on the morn- 
ing of July 5 Lee began his retreat toward the Potomac. There 
was no hurry, no demoralization. The troops marched slowly, 
and frequently halted to give time to the wagon-trains and the 
wounded. The high-tide of the Confederacy had reached its 
flood. This day began its ebb, which reached low-water mark 
at Appomattox nearly two years thereafter. 

When our march began I rode to our field hospital and saw as 
many of our wounded as I could before leaving. The sadness of 
parting with Colonel Feagin I will never forget, but he could not 
be removed. He had barely rallied from the shock of amputating 
his leg. He suffered a second amputation while in prison. But 
he stood it bravely, was ultimately exchanged, honorably retired, 
lived many years after the war, was sheriff of Barbour, and the 
Probate Judge of Bullock County, and died in 1901. Showers 
continued on the 5th, and after marching about three miles we 
stopped, built fires, and dried by them for two hours. Hood's di- 
vision was not molested by the enemy on its retreat, but the Union 
cavalry captured many of our wounded and burned many Confed- 
erate wagons. When we reached Williamsport we found the Fed- 
eral cavalry, and a rise in the river had broken and carried away 
or destroyed a part of the pontoons, and the river was not ford- 
able. Lee formed his line of battle some miles below Williams- 


port and opposite to Falling Waters. It ran from the river above 
to the river below, across a semi-circular or horse-shoe bend, with 
his wagon trains, ordnance, and stores within and the cavalry well 
to the front. We threw up an entrenchment with a piece of artil- 
lery between every two regiments of infantry ; and thus for several 
days Lee waited and tried to provoke an attack from General 
Meade. The latter was urged by the Washington Government to 
attack. Now that he had defeated Lee and had him at bay, not to 
allow him to escape was the urgent injunction of the Washington 
authorities. But Meade was too smart to throw away the morale 
of Gettysburg. He had been reenforced until all of his losses had 
been restored. His army was now over 100,000 strong. (See 
his testimony before the Joint Committee of Congress on the Con- 
duct of the War. ) Meade summoned his chief generals for a 
council of war 

There Lee stood, right before them, with his back to the Poto- 
mac, offering battle every day and every hour. A defeat would 
destroy him, and he had not more than forty thousand men in 
line. Some of the Union generals were anxious for a fight, but 
the majority thought otherwise, and Meade did the smartest thing 
of his life when he decided against an attack. There would have 
been no stragglers, and every Confederate would have fought as 
in a death struggle. We all desired his attack. But Meade 
would not come on. After days had elapsed, the rains contin- 
uing, Lee transferred his army to the Virginia shore. One corps 
forded the Potomac at Williamsport and the others crossed over 
a pontoon bridge near Falling Waters. General Pettigrew was 
killed, and by mismanagement of subordinates and a ruse of the 
Yankee cavalry, Lee lost 2,000 prisoners. Thus ended the Penn- 
sylvania campaign, the second invasion of Union territory. 

General Lee's army was never much stronger numerically, nor 
its morale better, than at Gettysburg. The rank and file were 
never more confident of success. He was over-confident. At 
Waterloo Napoleon and his army were radiant and confident of 
success. But in each case the unlooked-for came. The French 
became panic-stricken and fled in disgrace, while the Confederates 
remained cool, steady, and free from panic. 

Generals Early, Pendleton, and Fitzhugh Lee have charged in 
publications that Longstreet was responsible for the loss of the 
battle. He has with much ingenuity attempted a refutation of the 
charge, and has, perhaps to the minds of most readers, at least 


partially succeeded. Their charge is based upon his alleged diso- 
bedience of orders to attack and capture the Round Tops early on 
the morning of July 2, and his inactivity and tardiness in making 
the attack that day. Longstreet has proven in his book, by a let- 
ter from Colonel Taylor, who was Lee's Adjutant-General, that 
he did not give Longstreet a written order. Taylor says that 
General Lee never gave written orders to his corps commanders, 
but informed them orally of what he wished them to do. And as 
to the charge of tardiness, all that he heard Lee say was that 
"Longstreet is a magnificent fighter after he becomes engaged, but 
he is so slow." And General Hood said to Longstreet that Gen- 
eral Lee was anxious for him to attack. Longstreet was awaiting 
the arrival of Pickett's division, and said that he did not like to go 
into a battle with one boot off. 

General Early also charges Longstreet with failing to give the 
commanding general that hearty and cordial support which was 
essential to success. All of these charges Longstreet denied. As 
to the first of the charges, so far as a written order is concerned, 
he has answered successfully. But no doubt Lee expressed to him 
a desire that he should early on the 2d occupy the Round Tops and 
the Devil's Den, which he knew that Longstreet could easily do 
with his seven brigades then present, which had not fired a gun in 
that battle. 

Modesty dictates to me, a mere subordinate officer, with lim- 
ited opportunities for observing what was transpiring on the field 
of strife, excepting on one part of it, to enter cautiously upon a 
critical discussion of the conduct of a corps commander in that 
great battle so far as my personal knowledge extends, but the 
truth of history can only be vindicated by bringing all of the testi- 
mony before the impartial and intelligent reader. Mine, as to the 
humble part I bore, is of no great importance ; but from the posi- 
tion I happened to occupy, subsequent investigation, and several 
visits to that field since the war, I can truly say that I do know 
some facts which have an important bearing on the question of 
responsibility for the failure of the Confederates to win the battle. 
The truth of history and a sense of duty to the heroic conduct and 
sacrifices of the noble men I had the honor to command, and all 
Confederates who participated in the battle, demand that the 
whole truth be told, and hence I will contribute all that I know to 
that end. I was a close observer then, and have examined reports 
and studied that battle carefully since to obtain the truth. The 



campaign may have been an unwise or ill-advised one ; but General 
Lee in his nobleness of soul put that question beyond the pale of 
discussion by assuming more than was chargeable to him, the en- 
tire responsibility for the failure. I have not sufficient personal 
knowledge of the charge against General Longstreet to be a wit- 
ness against him, but have formed my conclusions from those 
things of which I was cognizant and the statement of facts and 
arguments of the respective parties. General Longstreet's book, 
"From Manassas to Appomattox," in giving his account of this 
great battle in its general tone bears strong evidence to my mind 
of the truth of General Early's charge against him. General 
Longstreet had advised against the campaign and the battle, and 
his heart was not in it. He desired Lee to turn Meade's left flank 
and to thus force him out of his strong position. He knew, too, 
that an army cannot fight long without rations. To have rations 
on hand often taxes the greatest ingenuity of the commanding 
general. Did Lee order Longstreet to attack the Round Tops 
and the Devil's Den on the morning of the 2d? If so, why did 
not Longstreet obey? If Lee did not give him a positive order, 
or if Lee did, and Longstreet disobeyed it, the onus was on Lee as 
well as Longstreet, because he had the power as commanding gen- 
eral to have enforced it. 

General Lee made his great mistake when he did not, on the 
morning of the 2d, throw Longstreet's troops on the Federal left 
and capture the Round Tops and the Devil's Den, which were not 
then occupied in force. He never recovered from it. He knew 
the importance of the points, and had the power to have or- 
dered Longstreet's troops to take them independently of his 
wishes. Lee was a great general and a good man. He wished to 
avoid wounding the feelings of his old army comrade and friend. 
He was too lenient with his corps commanders. He never gave 
one a written order, says Taylor, but merely expressed his desire 
as to what should be done, leaving to each the largest discretion. 
When Longstreet did attack he obeyed literally the order to attack 
up the Emmitsburg Road, when he knew that circumstances had 
changed after Lee had given him the order. And in the fore- 
noon, when General Hood told him that Lee was seemingly anx- 
ious for him to attack that morning, Longstreet replied that he 
was awaiting the arrival of Pickett. He was then subordinating 
Lee's wishes to his own preferences. Lee should have relieved 
him from command and have ordered his troops under Hood or 


McLaws to make the advance at once before those strong 
positions were occupied by the Federals. Instead, he indulged 
Longstreet's preference and his tardiness until Law's brigade ar- 
rived, when Lee gave him a positive order to move and how to 
attack, which Longstreet obeyed reluctantly, as indicated by his 
stubborn refusal to modify or change, notwithstanding the cir- 
cumstances, then unknown to Lee, required it. Longstreet de- 
served to have been arrested and dismissed from the service as the 
least penalty his conduct merited. When Lee made his official 
report of the campaign and his failure to win the battle of Gettys- 
burg, he said, "It was all my fault," and tendered his resignation, 
which Davis refused to accept, saying that there was no one who 
could fill Lee's place. 

The surrender of Vicksburg on Independence Day was a strong 
appeal to the superstitions of men on both sides. It seemed om- 
inous of ultimate success of the Union cause. The next morning 
the beginning of Lee's retreat and the bisection of the Confed- 
eracy by the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the greatest re- 
verses which had occurred, sounded the death-knell of the Con- 
federacy ; but neither its governmental authorities, the soldiers, or 
citizens would see it or believe it. The Union soldiers were en- 
thused, the Confederates depressed, though still ready to fight and 
die game for Dixie. 

Gettysburg furnishes to the student of military history a more 
interesting chapter than the battles of Waterloo, Jena, Marengo, 
Austerlitz, or any of the great battles fought by Napoleon Bona- 

The great interest manifested in the battle since the war is at- 
tributable to the fact that it was, and is, regarded as the turning- 
point in the great struggle — the war between the Southern States 
and the Union. The Confederacy, in fact, had but little chance of 
success after the spirit of volunteering subsided ; but none of us 
were ready to admit it, and those who continued to fight manfully 
for the cause and win victories, almost from fate itself, began to 
despair when Lee turned back from Gettysburg. 

Had he won that battle his objective point was Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, and he could not have been checked. Washington 
and Baltimore would have fallen, and the thousands of prisoners 
who would have been released from Fort McHenry, Point Look- 
out, and other prisons, and the volunteers from Maryland who 
would have joined Lee, would have made him resistless, and nego- 


tiations for peace would have followed. The independence of the 
Confederacy so near, and yet so far. The fatalists and the pre- 
destinarians believe that it was not to have been, but the writer 
cannot agree with them. It was not, yet it might have been — it 
was possible. Had the civil government of the Confederacy been 
equal to the military it would have been a success, and the inde- 
pendence of the Confederacy firmly established. 

The strategy and movements of troops on each side were for a 
purpose and constituted an interesting study. Lee's strategy 
was superb, but the execution of his plans was bungling. Stone- 
wall Jackson was dead, and there was no executive officer of equal 
ability to take his place. 

The fighting was of details — a piecemeal. No solid assault was 
made against the entire Federal line, nor was support given at all 
points when necessary. 

The Federal army held the interior line nearly in horse-shoe 
shape and but four miles long. Meade could easily transfer 
troops from one point to another to support his line wherever at- 
tacked. The Confederate line around the outside was six and a 
half miles long, which rendered it next to impossible to transfer 
troops from one point to another, one, two. three, or five miles 
apart, and Lee had practically no reserves. These disadvantages 
of position and Meade's army 20,000 stronger, constitute a won- 
derfully fine tribute to the valor and devotion of the Confederates, 
and to the skill, strategy and persistency of Lee. If he had had 
50,000 negro troops or half that number commanded by white 
officers, which was practicable, he would have worsted Meade, 
have gone to Philadelphia and have won the independence of the 

It is remarkable how small an occurrence or omission, trivial in 
itself, often turns the tide of battle, and changes governments and 
the maps of nations. Victor Hugo says that at Waterloo the 
shake of a peasant's head dethroned the Emperor Napoleon and 
changed the map of Europe. No battle in the world's history 
ever had greater consequences dependent upon it, nor so many 
mishaps, or lost opportunities — especially on the side of the Con- 
federates — as that of Gettysburg. That was the O'Hane of the 

Had Meade drawn on his heavy reserves immediately after 
Lee's repulse on the third day and sent 40,000 men to inter- 


cept his communications, block the mountain passes and thus 
obstruct his line of retreat toward the Potomac and Virginia, and 
when he began to move have pressed hard on his rear, he would 
have crippled Lee much worse than he did and with some proba- 
bility of his destruction. But that general was so delighted that 
he did not get whipped at Gettysburg and so carried away with 
the renown of having repulsed and turned Lee homeward that he 
thought it wise to let well enough alone and thus he lost a great 

i. Had Stuart been less enthusiastic, not have gone so far east 
and have kept between the two armies, Lee would have been more 
fully advised of every movement of his adversary, would have 
been better able to anticipate him, have selected his battle-ground 
and have had the cavalry fresh and in good plight in the battle 
and protecting his communications. 

2. Had Ewell followed up the success of the first day, have 
driven the broken and defeated corps beyond the strong position 
of Cemetery Ridge that evening, or if he had occupied Culp's Hill 
before the Union troops did, which was easy enough done at any 
time until occupied by the Twelfth Corps after 9 o'clock P M., 
no further fighting would have occurred at Gettysburg. General 
Lee ordered him to occupy Culp's Hill, but it could not be done 
after the Twelfth Corps arrived. Ramseur ascended with his 
brigade before dark, but was withdrawn. 

3. Had Longstreet's attack on the 2d been made early in the 
forenoon, when there were no Federal troops on either of the 
Round Tops, instead of at 3.30 o'clock in the afternoon, he would 
easily have captured both mountain tops — the key-point of the 
entire Federal position — and Lee would have had a complete 

4. If the Forty-eighth Alabama had not been transferred to the 
left, but had remained to protect the rear, it would have taken care 
of the sharp-shooters, Colonel Oates's flanking column would 
have captured Little Round Top before Vincent's brigade arrived 
and it would have won the battle for the Confederates. No troops 
were then on Little Round Top but Hazlett's battery and Berdan's 
sharp-shooters, and they would have been captured or swept aside 
by the flankers in five minutes. 

5. When Colonel Oates's two regiments reached the top of 
Great Round Top, had they been reenforced with artillery it 
would have commanded Little Round Top and a part of Cemetery 


Ridge, which would have been untenable, and have enabled the 
Confederates to win the field. 

6. Had not Lieutenant-Colonel Bulger fallen, which, in part, 
caused his companies to retreat, in ten minutes Oates's command 
would have captured Little Round Top, which would have given 
the Confederates the key-point and have enabled them to win 
the battle. 

7. General Ayres commanded a division of regulars extending 
from Little Round Top westward. He told the writer that he 
lost eight hundred men in forty minutes and made a hurried 
retreat by regiments to Cemetery Ridge, the Confederates in such 
hot pursuit that some were mixed up with his men. If they had 
been volunteers instead of regulars, he said he could not have 
halted them in such a panic and have formed a new line, Wof- 
ford's Georgia brigade would have taken that part of Cemetery 
Ridge and Little Round Top would have fallen into Confederate 
hands like a mellow apple from its stem. 

8. If, on the evening of the 2d, when Hays's and Hoke's 
brigades charged and took Cemetery Heights they had been sup- 
ported, Lee would have won the field. Available Confederate 
troops were near, but were not thrown forward. Hancock 
brought up Carroll's brigade as a reenforcement, drove the Con- 
federates and recaptured the line. For this fine work an eques- 
trian statue to him stands on the spot. 

9. If Major-General Edward Johnson had known on the night 
of the 2d that when his advance halted he was in the rear and 
within three hundred steps of the immense ordnance train of the 
Union army on the Baltimore Pike, he could have captured it and 
forced them to retreat. 

10. If, late on the evening of the 2d, when Wright, with his 
Georgia brigade, reached the crest of Cemetery Ridge, — where 
he looked down the slope at and beyond Meade's quarters, — he 
had been supported by Posey's and other inactive brigades, that 
ridge might have been held and the battle won. 

11. That same evening, when Wilcox's brigade also reached 
the top of that ridge, and occupied a part of it which had been 
evacuated by a brigade of Union troops, had he been supported 
he would have formed such a breach in their line that if improved 
might have won the battle. 

12. If, on the 3d, the charging column had remained compact, 
with no opening for Stanard's maneuvers, or had Stuart reached 


the rear so as to have made his co-operative charge, a great victory 
might have been won. 

These reflections only show us lost opportunities in that great 


I am not a fatalist nor a believer in destiny, and hence cannot 
say of Gettysburg as Victor Hugo said of Waterloo, "That God 
passed over the battle-field" and ordered the defeat of the Con- 
federates. Their cause was just and nothing in it offensive to the 
Great Creator of us all. Under His laws, which are perfect and 
ample for the government of the world, it was given unto men to 
originate, formulate and regulate their governmental affairs in 
their own way, being responsible under those laws for individual 
acts as in every department of life. I do not worship a God who 
takes sides in battle and gives the victory to the heaviest battalions, 
greatest numbers and best equipped with arms and implements of 
war without regard to whether the cause be just or unjust. I can 
judge as well of the justice involved between nations when they 
go to war as I can of the laws of Nature and Nature's God. I 
am not infallible and may be mistaken in either, but nevertheless 
I can judge of the one as well as of the other. I would never go 
to war unless I conscientiously believed that the cause was just. 
I have no more doubt of the right of secession now than I had 
from 1861-65 and that was none at all. I am an unwavering 
believer in God as the Creator of all things. I believe that He 
created immutable and unchangeable laws for their government 
and endowed men with the power of acting for themselves and 
with responsibility for their acts. When we went to war it was 
a matter of business, of difference among men about their tem- 
poral affairs. God had nothing to do with it. He never diverted 
a bullet from one man, or caused it to hit another, nor directed 
who should fall or who should escape, nor how the battle should 
terminate. If I believed in such interposition of Providence I 
would be a fatalist. I believe in the justice and infinite wisdom 
of the Great Creator. His laws are perfect creations and any 
violation of them must be atoned for — the punishment cannot be 
averted. Unless individuals have freedom of action there is no 
justice in punishment. Courts of justice all over the world pun- 
ish criminal acts voluntarily performed, which shows that all 
nations believe in the free agency of man. 


To the religious, the superstitious and the fatalist the results 
may have appeared as Divine direction, to have been so ordered 
by Providence (which I do not believe) ; but, be it true or false, 
it is my purpose only to give the facts with appropriate sug- 
gestions of probable consequences and the statement of causes 


The reports of casualties during the Pennsylvania campaign 
as to each army are greater than those of the battle of Gettysburg, 
because the latter is included therein. 

These reports are not perfectly accurate on either side, and from 
the nature of the case could not well be, but the following 
aggregate statements, compiled from such reports, is the nearest 
approach to accuracy obtainable, and applies only to that battle 
and not to the campaign : 

Casualties in the Confederate Army. 


Wounded. Captured. 



12,706 5,150 
In the Union Army. 



Wounded. Captured. 



14,529 5,365 


The Federals reported in their list of killed all who were mor- 
tally wounded, or subsequently to the battle died of wounds, while 
the Confederates reported killed all who died of wounds soon 
after the close of the battle; but there is no doubt the mortally 
wounded would increase, if included, the total number of Con- 
federates killed to 3,000. 

Casualties in the Union army greater than in the Confederate, 
4,537. The best authenticated reports from all sources of infor- 
mation are that Lee did not have in Pennsylvania available men 
of his army exceeding 70,000, while it is known that the muster 
of the Union army of June 30, the day before the fighting began, 
showed 105,000 officers and men of all arms. Making a large 
allowance for details of all kinds, it cannot be claimed that Meade 
had on the field, and within striking distance, an available force 
of less than 90,000 men, so that his. army was at least 20,000 
stronger than Lee's during the great battle. 


The greater percentage of losses in the Union army is just 
about in proportion to the greater numbers of that army on the 

It will be seen that the whole number of men of each side $ 
Union and Confederate, aggregated 160,000, and the aggregate 
of losses was 53,433, or nearly one-third, which was heavier than 
the battle of Waterloo or of any of the great European battles of 
modern times. 

During the three days' fighting the aggregate amount of lead 
and iron shot at each other by the two armies was five hundred 
and s;xty-six tons. It is surprising that so many survived. 



Death of General Pettigrew — The Fifteenth Ordered to Protect the Flank of 
the Marching Column — A Lost Opportunity — We Have a Skirmish With 
Kilpatrick's Cavalry — In Camp on the Rappahannock. 

The day we crossed the river General Pettigrew was killed by 
some Federal cavalry, which he mistook for Confederates. We 
marched leisurely through the Valley and across the Shenandoah, 
our corps of the army passing through the Blue Ridge at Front 
Royal and at Miles' Gaps. Detached portions of the Union army 
attempted to impede our march, but were brushed aside. Where 
the Warrenton Pike crossed the road we were traveling toward 
Culpeper Court House. I was ordered with the Fifteenth Ala- 
bama to turn square off down toward Warrenton for one or two 
miles until I found a good defensive position, and there remain to 
protect the flank of the marching column until relieved. It was 
about noon on the 23d of July, and the men had just eaten the last 
rations they had. After marching about one mile and a half I 
came to an elevated skirt of woods crossing the road at right an- 
gles, with a fence on the bluff, and just under the hill a beautiful 
creek of clear water. Here I halted and stacked arms along the 
fence, one-half the regiment on either side of the road. I per- 
mitted one battalion at a time to bathe in the creek. When the 
second was enjoying the bath I heard the report of small arms — 
just a volley — away beyond the next hill toward Warrenton, and 
in a few moments I saw a frightened cavalryman coming at full 
speed. I halted him and inquired the trouble, and he said that 
his lieutenant with a squadron of cavalry was falling back before 
a brigade of Yankees. I ordered him back to tell his lieutenant 
to draw them on to my regiment. He returned. I could hear 
an occasional volley of carbines, and pretty soon the half dozen 
Confederates appeared in the open field beyond the bridge and 
came right on through my line, which I had concealed, with one 
company ( A ) lying upon their faces on a little hill just below the 


bridge, with instructions that when the head of the column 
reached the fence and the regiment halted it to run down to the 
bridge and cut off the retreat of those between there and the fence. 
But unfortunately the men of 'Company A were not controlled, 
and commenced firing when the head of the column was on the 
bridge, but for which within a few minutes more we would have 
caused a regiment to dismount. Some of them doubtless got 
hurt, and one fellow, whose horse was killed, took shelter under 
the bridge, and we captured him. They then fell back to the 
woods, dismounted a large force, and advanced them deployed at 
short distance. They opened a desultory fire, which was replied 
to by my men at long range. The enemy did not cross the creek, 
and retired about sunset. There was not a brigade, but a regi- 
ment of West Virginia cavalry. Very little damage was done, 
and we remained during the night, and near day Colonel Mun- 
ford, with the Second Virginia Cavalry, relieved us. 

At daylight we returned to the road we left the day before. 
Finding a large patch of ripe blackberries, I halted, and the regi- 
ment made breakfast of that fruit, as our rations were exhausted 
the day before. Resuming the march, about 9 o'clock A. M., at 
Battle Mountain, General Kilpatrick's cavalry was discovered in 
battle array up on the side and top of the mountain, with a battery 
in position which commanded the road. I deployed four compa- 
nies, holding the remainder in close supporting distance, and ad- 
vanced against him and drove him to the top. Lieutenant Head, 
of the Fort Browder company, D, was killed and three men 
wounded. Stephens, who lived in Coffee County, Alabama, for 
many years after the war, was very seriously wounded. I halted 
my advance on learning that A. P Hill was coming on. I rode 
down the hill and back a short distance to a house, where I met 
General Hill, and asked him for a piece of artillery, which he fur- 
nished. I pointed out a position for it to the officer in charge, 
and he opened on the Union battery an enfilading fire. I was 
preparing to attack with my whole regiment, when General Ben- 
ning, who had turned back when he heard the firing, marched his 
brigade through the woods right up in the rear of Kilpatrick's 
men, fired upon them, and killed and wounded about one hundred, 
when the command fled to a more healthful locality. I had the 
dead body of Lieutenant Head and those of the wounded men put 
into the ambulance, and resumed the march, reaching Culpeper 
Court House late that evening, where we received rations and ate 


as only hungry soldiers could. A grave was prepared and Lieu- 
tenant Head was buried with military honors. We remained at 
Culpeper several days, and then moved over on the Rappahan- 
nock, where we remained, drilling, moving and changing camp 
occasionally for the health and comfort of the men. Every old 
soldier knows that this is essential; and however much he may 
oppose the surrender of an old camp, where the industrious are 
"well fixed," to go into new quarters, yet it is best for health and 
to keep away home-sickness to have his body and mind constantly 
occupied at something. The most terrible ordeal through which 
our soldiers passed was that of being separated for years — as 
many of them were — from a loving wife and dear little children 
who were at home hoping, praying, and sighing for the safe and 
speedy return of the husband and father. In the majority of 
cases when he came he was a corpse, and more frequently he came 
not, but a report of his death and rude burial was forwarded the 
distressed family instead. What a vast measure of patriotism it 
required to brace up the brave men to face such trying circum- 
stances and death as well. All honor to such men ! 



Bragg Reenforced by Two Divisions of Longstreet's Corps — Incidents of the 
March — Beginning of the Battle — The Plan — Alone and Without Orders — 
Grossly Misrepresented in An Official Report — The Death of Federal 
General Lytle — Some Brave Boys — Aid Requested and Refused — A Gal- 
lant South Carolina Captain — The Fifteenth Relieved — Bragg's Failure 
to Pursue — Gen. A. P, Stewart's Account of the Battle. 

About the 9th of September General Longstreet was ordered to 
take two divisions of his corps — Hood's and McLaws's — and re- 
enforce the Army of Tennessee, which was then in the vicinity of 
Ringgold, Georgia, to which place it had been compelled to retire 
before the advance of the victorious army of Rosecrans. On the 
way out there was no occurrence of sufficient moment to arrest the 
attention of the writer or interest the reader. At many places, in 
anticipation of our coming, the patriotic people, especially the 
good ladies, prepared abundant and excellent lunches for us. At 
such points the trains were stopped and the men allowed to par- 
take of the feast, which they greatly enjoyed. A soldier in active 
service will eat every time he can get it, for he never knows when 
he is going to be put on short rations, and he is generally in antic- 
ipation and eats accordingly. I knew a soldier in the regiment 
named Smith who always ate all his rations at the first halt on the 
march. It mattered not whether his rations were for one, two, 
or three days, he ate them all at once just the same, not because 
he was hungry; but, as he said, his rations were easier to carry 
that way than in his haversack. 

In Atlanta we were delayed about one day on account of the 
crowded condition of railroads and insufficiency of rolling stock. 
Bragg was also being reenforced by troops from the Mississippi 
department. I remember that McNair's brigade was one of the 
commands. We were, when our turn came, transferred down 
near to Ringgold, where we arrived on the 16th and encamped for 
the night, but without baggage and camp equipage, which had 
been left behind. The next day we marched westward several 


miles, and passed over ground where Hood, who had preceded us, 
with a part of his division and Forrest's cavalry, had fought and 
driven the Union cavalry. A dead man was occasionally found. 
We marched and we marched, along the dustiest roads I ever saw. 
We got on the wrong road and marched I don't know where to 
and camped ; got up the next morning and marched back again. 
This exhausted the rations, as we marched on the 17th with only 
two days' supplies in the haversacks. The next morning, Satur- 
day, the 19th of September, began in earnest the battle of Chicka- 
mauga. We crossed the creek of that name in the woods about 
10 o'clock A. M. and went into line without breakfast. Law was 
in command of Hood's division and Hood was placed in command 
of Longstreet's troops, and Longstreet was placed in command of 
the left wing of the army and General Polk of the right wing. 
Col. James L. Sheffield commanded our brigade. I, with the 
Fifteenth, was ordered to take a position in the front line on the 
right of the Texas brigade and to act with it. The remainder 
of Law's and Benning's brigades were to constitute a second line. 
After some maneuvering I was ordered back to the left of Law's 
brigade when it was placed in the front line. More maneuvering 
ensued. All this time there was more or less fighting on Polk's 
part of the line. Gen. W H. T Walker's division had quite a 
severe engagement. 

About 4 o'clock P M. a brisk artillery duel was gotten up on 
our part of the field, when our lines advanced, encountered the 
enemy and drove them very easily. Sheffield's horse threw him 
and injured his back so that he had to leave the field. Colonel 
Perry, of the Forty-fourth Alabama, ranked me, but he had borne 
away to the right until he had become entirely disconnected. I 
therefore assumed command of the four regiments of the brigade 
and soon after crossing the Lafayette Road halted for the reason 
that I could not see any enemy in our front. Bushrod Johnson's 
brigade was next on the left, and just as I halted it was fired on 
from the front and at once retreated across the road and up the 
hillside, with the Yankees in close pursuit. When I saw they had 
passed my line I gave the command "about face," which attracted 
their attention and they fired on my left and killed Lieut. Fred 
Porter, of Company K, and Private Jacob Pruett, of Company 
B, of the Fifteenth. I ordered the brigade to fall back to the 
road and as soon as the movement fairly began I saw that a panic 


had seized the command. I gave the order to halt at the road 
and for the officers to draw their pistols and shoot any man who 
crossed it against orders. The halt was made. I then moved 
back east of the road, swung back my left a short distance and 
threw forward eight companies of skirmishers, two from each 
regiment, and advanced them against the flank of the brigade 
which was pursuing Johnson and soon drove it back across the 
road and into the woods beyond. This terminated the fighting 
on that part of the field for that day. Other commands were 
engaged, but it is not within my province to say anything of them 
in this connection. Night came on and I sent to division head- 
quarters an order for rations. I was in as bad a condition in 
this respect as any of the men. We had been without anything 
to eat for twenty-four hours. If anything will make a man 
hungry, it is hard fighting. About 12 o'clock that night Colonel 
Perry came up with his regiment and I turned over the command 
to him, as he ranked me. The rations came about 1 o'clock and 
the men awoke at that hour and ate most ravenously. 

The next morning at an early hour the lines were reformed, 
we being in the second line. The plan of the battle was for 
Polk to attack with the right wing at daylight and drive 
Rosecrans's left wing, double it back on his center and cut him off 
from retreat to Chattanooga, when Longstreet's wing was to 
advance and crush him. The attack was not made at daylight 
nor at sunrise, but some time after, perhaps 9 o'clock. When 
made, the battle raged with varying success, Polk wholly failing 
to drive his enemy as had been expected. The reason was that 
Rosecrans, finding the attack aimed at his left, reenforced it with 
troops drawn from his right and center. Longstreet discovered 
this and about 1 1 o'clock A. M. ordered his entire wing forward. 
The first line was halted before the Union line, which was near 
the Lafayette Road. The Union troops were behind the trunks of 
trees felled the night previous and kept up a lively fire. The front 
line, composed of troops belonging to the Tennessee army, lay 
down and kept up an exchange of fire with the Yankees at a 
distance of about two hundred yards. The second line, composed 
of Longstreet's troops from Lee's army, marched over their 
friends and routed the Yankees without halting, taking a good 
many prisoners. When we crossed the road it raised a tremendous 
dust and soon after I could see only a few scattering men of the 
Union army running away. I discovered that I did not connect 


with any one on the right or left and halted. I had no idea where 
the other regiments of the brigade were. Looking around I saw 
away to my left and front a fight going on ; the Federals in solid 
phalanx along the pine ridge at the edge of a field, with two pieces 
of artillery in their midst, were beating the Confederates back 
down the slope through the open field. I did not know what 
troops they were, except that they were Confederates and were 
being beaten, and without orders I resolved to go to their assist- 
ance. I faced to the left and moved rapidly until I got near the 
old soap factory and in rear of the right regiment that was falling 
back down the hill. I then ordered by the right flank forward. 
Just at this point the Yankees turned their battery on the Fif- 
teenth and I was struck on my left hip by a piece of shell, which 
cut a piece out of my coat nearly as large as my hand, and knocked 
me down. Lieutenant Renfroe, of my old company, helped me 
up and steadied me until I could go. I had no feeling in that leg, 
but limped along up the slope until I caught up with the regiment, 
which passed over and by our Confederate friends. I called out : 
"Don't fire, Fifteenth, until you are ordered!" and they raised a 
shout. Some now were falling and crying aloud, "O Lord, I 
am wounded !" and I saw that the regiment was making ready to 
fire, when I cautioned them again, "Don't fire until you are 
ordered, men!" When we had passed beyond our Confederate 
friends and were within about eighty yards of the enemy I gave 
the order, "Fire advancing — commence firing!" The order was 
promptly obeyed. Our enemies began to give back. I saw in 
the smoke an officer on horseback, but in a moment he seemed to 
go down and disappeared. My men halted when they reached 
the top of the ridge, but the steady roar of their musketry and the 
blinding smoke told of the execution they were doing. The regi- 
ment we had relieved proved to be the Nineteenth Alabama. Col. 
Samuel K. McSpadden, of that regiment, in his official report, 
dated fifteen days after the battle, said : 

The Fifteenth Alabama volunteers, who were to the right of my rear, 
began an enfilading fire upon me. I immediately discovered they were friends, 
and ordered my colors back to the edge of the open field, and, waving them, 
discovered to the Fifteenth Alabama their error, upon which they came up by 
a left oblique march in fine order, and joining in with my regiment, we contin- 
ued to pursue the enemy for some distance across fields, woods, roads, and 
hills, until we passed over the telegraph road of the enemy into the hills, 
where we passed also other pieces of artillery and found we had utterly cut 
the enemy's lines asunder, 


How Colonel McSpadden could make all these statements in 
his official report I am unable to see. 

I was in command of the Fifteenth Alabama, and no other field 
officer. I went to the relief of the Nineteenth Alabama, which 
was not in the woods, but was slowly falling back down the slope 
of the hill in the open field and was not less than one hundred and 
fifty yards from the edge of the woods. The Fifteenth never 
delivered "a heavy enfilading fire" upon the Nineteenth. The 
Fifteenth never marched left oblique at all ; it had no such order, 
and none at all except, "Don't fire, Fifteenth, until you are 
ordered," which I gave aloud, and it was fully obeyed. The 
Fifteenth came straight from the rear and the two left companies 
of the Fifteenth passed over or through the right companies 
of the Nineteenth, and I will swear that there was not a shot fired 
by the Fifteenth until after it passed the Nineteenth, when I gave 
the order, "Fire, Fifteenth, advancing," and there was no halting 
until the Fifteenth reached the top of the ridge where the Union 
line had stood — it having fallen back forty or fifty yards. The 
Fifteenth halted there without orders and was then delivering a 
heavy fire. The Nineteenth moved up on a line with the Fifteenth 
and was also firing heavily. As I walked toward my left Colonel 
McSpadden met me and told me who he was and the number of 
his regiment. I never saw him until that moment. I did not 
know what regiment it was until then. I had seen, when three 
hundred yards away, that it was a Confederate regiment and 
needed help and I went to it of my own volition. It was the right 
of Deas's Alabama brigade. Soon after I spoke with Colonel 
McSpadden one of my men said, "Colonel, the Yankees are 
coming up behind us." I stepped out of the smoke and saw four 
regiments coming in splendid style, each carrying the Confederate 
battle-flag. They were Patton Anderson's brigade. As soon as 
I discovered that they were Confederates I ordered a charge. As 
we moved, Deas's brigade, and in fact all of Hindman's division, 
joined in the charge, which swept the Federals from that part of 
the field.* We captured the battery and a considerable number 
of prisoners and continued the charge for nearly a mile. I was 

* This report of Colonel McSpadden caused General Deas in his report to 
say that the Fifteenth Alabama, of Law's brigade, fired on his right, but, on 
Colonel Oates perceiving his mistake, moved up and fought gallantly with 
him. It also caused Major-General Hindman to say the same thing in his re- 
port, all of which did me an absolute injustice. Neither of these generals 


so injured in my hip that I could not keep up. I saw a horse 
richly caparisoned standing near where the Federal lines had 
broken. I went to him, congratulating myself upon the ride I 
expected to take, but discovered when I tried to move him that 
the poor animal had been shot through the pastern joint of one 
fore-leg. At that date it was against orders for field officers to 
ride in battle. Near this horse — within twenty steps — lay the 
dying form of Gen. William H. Lytle, whose brigade we had 
been fighting. 

The night the battle began it is said that he composed that 
beautiful and pathetic song, "I am dying, Egypt, dying." I knew 
then only from prisoners that he was General Lytle from Ohio. 
In 1876 I took passage from Cincinnati to Louisville upon a boat 
named "General Lytle." I made inquiry of some of the officers 
and found that this boat was named for him. I then learned, too, 
what a general favorite he was with the people of that city. In 
the summer of 1884 I visited Mount Vernon, when the Regents 
were in session, and I made the acquaintance of Mrs. Elizabeth 
Lytle Broadwell, the regent for Ohio, who was a sister of General 
Lytle. She made very particular inquiry of me as to the death 
of her brother and evinced deep sorrow, but no malice toward the 
Confederates. She was certainly a noble lady. Some few years 
after the interview her spirit took its flight from earth to that of 
her gallant brother in the great beyond. 

The dying General lay in the hot sun. I took him by the arms 
and dragged him two or three steps into the shade and left Turn 
and started in pursuit of my regiment, when General Deas came 
on from the rear riding toward the front. He was the first general 
officer on our side whom I had seen since the battle of that morn- 
ing began. I hailed him, inquired who he was, told him who I 
was and how I came there. I suggested that our men were going 
too far and should be halted, to which he assented and dashed 
forward. And just here I wish to mention that one of our bat- 
teries which kept just off on our right and did such splendid firing, 
as many of the Fifteenth Alabama men will remember, was the 
battery of that superb soldier from Eufaula, Ala., Capt. S. H. 

could say that of their own knowledge, as neither of them were at the time on 
that part of the field. Colonel McSpadden was an honorable man, lived many 
years after the war,- and died while holding the office of Chancellor of the 
Northeastern Division of Alabama. But he made an egregious mistake in his 
official report of the battle of Chickamauga. 


Dent, but we did not know what battery it was until after the 
close of the battle. 

At last I found my men lying on the side of a hill, resting, and 
panting like dogs tired out in the chase. I ordered them to "fall 
in" and we marched back to the scene of conflict. I halted, 
stacked arms and told the men who were bareheaded to help them- 
selves to the hats of the dead men and such of the wounded as 
would voluntarily give them up. I detailed Feagin's company 
(B) to take charge of and carry out the two pieces of artillery 
that we had captured and then marched out to the soap factory 
or tannery, hoping to learn the whereabouts of Law's brigade. 
The first man I saw of whom to make inquiry was Gen. Bushrod 
Johnson, the commander of a division. He could not tell me 
anything of Law's brigade and the sequel proved that he knew as 
little of the whereabouts of his own, but he ordered me to march 
northward through an extensive old field. "And on entering the 
woods," he said, "you will find my troops, which are very hard 
pressed and much in need of reenforcements." It was all I could 
do to refrain from asking him if his troops were so hard pressed 
why was he so far in the rear of them, but his rank suppressed me. 

Bushrod Johnson was promoted to be a major-general for his 
gallantry in this battle. He displayed it, too, before this stage 
was reached. He seemed to have had enough when I saw him. 
I had to go, but I detailed a guard for our captured guns — I did 
not want to leave them for some other command to take into its 
possession and claim the credit of capturing them — and then we 
marched as directed. As we moved through the old field I dis- 
covered a boy, then about fifteen years old, who belonged to 
Company G, lagging in the rear and crying. I spoke to him and 
told him not to cry; that he had not yet been hurt and he might 
live through the battle, and not to be so unmanly as to become 
frightened and go to crying. He replied, "Afraid, hell ! that ain't 
it ; I am so damned tired I can't keep up with my company." That 
boy — A. Bryant Skipper — who had run away from his father and 
joined the regiment the preceding winter, survived the war, got 
married, became the father of ten fine children, was elected sheriff 
of his native county of Henry, and under all circumstances was 
a true man to his country. 

As we moved on across the field we passed over ground where 
there had been hard fighting that morning. I recognized among 
the dead Lieutenant-Colonel Bland, of the Seventh South Carolina 


Regiment, whom I had known ever since he fought a duel with 
Major Seibles on Bull Run in the winter of 1861. At that time 
Bland was a captain and Seibles the major of the regiment. They 
both belonged to the regular kid-gloved aristocracy of the Pal- 
metto State and were believers in the code duello for the settle- 
ment of private quarrels. They were disciples of John Lyde 
Wilson, who was standard authority in such matters in that State 
and generally throughout the South. The major and the captain 
quarreled over a game of chess; a challenge passed and was 
promptly accepted. They met, exchanged shots, both were 
wounded, but neither dangerously ; they made friends and all was 
well again. Major Seibles lived as a highly respected citizen of 
Montgomery, Ala., until the year 1900, when he died at his home 
in that city. 

Further on I found Kershaw's South Carolina brigade and a 
wide unoccupied space intervening between the Seventh and Third 
South Carolina regiments. They were lying in a deep valley, 
and on the ridge in front was a disabled twelve-pounder Napoleon 
gun, which I thought ought to be within our lines, and conse- 
quently moved on to the top of the ridge and began piling up logs 
and fortifying. I never saw anything of Gen. Bushrod Johnson's 
command, which was so "hard pressed," although I marched 
directly to the point indicated by him. I doubted whether he knew 
the locality and peril of his troops. He was too far in the rear. 

The enemy were in full view from my position on the hill and 
they soon advanced three regiments against us. I went to Colonel 
Nance, of the Third South Carolina, and requested him to move 
his regiment up on the hill and connect with my left. This he 
declined to do. I then ordered him to move up and still he 
declined. I bestowed upon him a few encomiums and returned 
to my regiment and extended my line by placing the men in one 
rank. On seeing that the attacking force would overlap me on 
each flank, I went to the Seventh South Carolina, which lay up 
the valley to my right and rear, under the command of a captain. 
It had suffered severely and was very much reduced in numbers. 
I ordered the captain commanding to move on the ridge to my 
right, which he declined to do upon the pretext that General Ker- 
shaw had placed his regiment where it then was. I ordered him 
forward and he made no reply and did not move. I got up on 
a log and made an appeal to the State pride of the regiment, and 
asked the men not to go where I directed merely, but to follow 


me. One captain said, "Colonel, I will follow you with my com- 
pany." As he started the whole regiment moved, and I led them 
into action. But as soon as we turned the hill and opened a left 
oblique partially enfilading fire, the enemy returned it vigorously 
and my Seventh South Carolina Regiment ingloriously fled, 
except the captain who said he would follow me with his company. 
I directed him to take position on the right of my regiment and 
act with it, which he did. I took his name, with the assurance 
that I would do him justice in my official report, and did so, but 
have never seen the paper since and have now forgotten his name. 
The truth is that General Law never made many reports beyond 
the usual casualties of battle. Although a brave man and a good 
fighter, he was very negligent in such matters, and after this battle 
his mind was chiefly occupied by his quarrel with Longstreet, who 
opposed his being made a major-general. I am sorry that I do 
not remember the name of that captain, which prevents me from 
doing justice to him and his brave company in this connection. 
They did their whole duty and remained with me until I was 
relieved. My report was a full and accurate one, but it never 
reached the War Department, which fact I deeply regret. Failure 
to make full and accurate reports of the operations of his splendid 
brigade was General Law's greatest fault as an officer. Justice 
required that they be made. In this battle he commanded a 
division. Colonel Perry should have made the report of the 
brigade to Law 

Deficient memory of names has always been a source of embar- 
rassment to me at times, and more so since I have been in public 
life than before. I remember faces, forms, sizes, and complex- 
ions ; I also remember facts, events and dates — but names I do not 
always remember readily. One time, in Montgomery, Judge 
Wm. E. Clark, of Marengo County, came up to me in a crowd and 
extended me his hand. I took it and gave him a warm shake, but 
did not call any name. Said he, "I will bet that you don't know 
my name." "No," said I, "but I know your face;" and his face 
was familiar, but I had no idea of his name at the moment. Smil- 
ing, he said, "Colonel Jones." I grasped his hand through sheer 
politeness and said, "Why, certainly, Colonel, I am glad to see 
you." He burst into a loud laugh ; I saw that I was sold, and 
then in a moment remembered that his name was William E. 
Clark. It flashed through my mind that moment, and I said, 
"Why, it is old Bill Clark," and I never had the slightest difficulty 


in remembering his name after that occurrence. Deficient mem- 
ory of persons' names with me has been caused by a habit, formed 
in boyhood, of thinking more of the appearance and probable 
characteristics of any one I met than of the name. I tried many 
times to recall the name of the gallant captain, but never could. 

As I turned from my South Carolina captain I saw my regi- 
ment start down the hill. I ran in among the men, yelling, "Halt, 
halt, men ! About face and return to your position ! Is there no 
officer who will set the example?" Lieutenant Strickland, of 
Company I, sprang forward, calling to the men to follow. It had 
the desired effect. The regiment rushed back to the top of the hill. 
They had not neglected to reload their pieces, and as they reached 
their former position our foes were within a few steps on the other 
side, and coming in such close proximity the fire of my men was 
very destructive and really a surprise to the enemy. They broke 
and retreated in confusion. They were so close that one of them 
threw down his gun and sprang through our line for protection. 
My men and the South Carolina company then lay behind the 
logs we had previously placed, and kept up a lively fire on the 
enemy whenever within range. They soon advanced again, but 
this time more slowly and cautiously. A constant exchange of 
shots went on at a lively rate for a good while. I extended my 
left companies to meet the overlapping line until the men were one 
or two paces apart. When passing along that part of my com- 
mand I observed particularly little Tom Wright, a sixteen-year- 
old boy and a brother of Capt. "Dick" Wright, who now lives at 
Midway, in Bullock County, Alabama. The boy was cross-eyed, 
and his face looked remarkably young and handsome, but was be- 
grimed and blackened with powder. He was the busiest chap I 
ever saw, down on his knees loading and firing, but taking good 
aim at every shot. I slapped him on the shoulder and said, "Give 
it to them, Tommie, my boy; I will remember you." He looked 
up with a smile and replied, "All right, Colonel." I passed on, 
and returned in less than two minutes, and the brave little fellow 
had been shot through the head and lay a corpse. I could not re- 
press my tears, and in the heat of battle I shed a few in passing as 
a tribute to the sublime courage of that child. I have never felt 
ashamed of those tears. It is not unmanly to shed tears of com- 
miseration or sympathy for worthy objects. 

During the fighting another boy, barely sixteen years old, be- 
longing to Company D, from about Fort Browder, in Barbour 


County — Jack Cariker was his name — came to me, his little 
freckled face aglow with excitement, and said, "Colonel, there is 
one of our men down there behind a tree who refuses to come up 
and fight." Said I, "Jack, go and bring him to me." He replied, 
"Colonel, he is a great big man." "Well, Jack," said I, "bring 
him, though he be as big as an elephant, and if he refuses to come 
stave your bayonet through him." Away went Jack, and within 
less than a minute he drove before him one of the largest men in 
the regiment, and reported, "Here he is, Colonel." The man 
sprang behind a tree. I approached and asked him what he 
meant — he had fought well before. He told me that he was sick 
and not able to fight ; but I saw at once, from the way he clung to 
that pine and covered himself with it, that he was demoralized 
through fear instead of being sick. I told him that it was no time 
then to get sick, and pulling him out from behind the tree ordered 
him to go forward and take his place within the ranks of his com- 
pany. When I turned him loose he sprang back behind his tree. 
I again pulled him out, and struck him over the head with my 
sword and knocked him down, cutting his head a little, which sat- 
isfied him that the safest place for him was with his company. 
He then took his place in the ranks and fought as well as any of 
his comrades. I heard no more of his sickness. 

All the newspaper talk during the war about "gallant leaders" 
was the veriest bosh. One good driver was worth six "gallant 
leaders." The latter generally accomplished little else than to get 
themselves shot. There were quite a number of young boys in 
the regiment, and they made better soldiers than a majority of the 
grown men. Thjey cared but little about home, were always 
cheerful, generally healthy, and in battle they never knew when 
they were whipped. 

The fight continued for some time ; but at last our foes retired 
slowly, firing until they passed out of range. They left in our 
front several of their dead and wounded. The woods got on fire, 
burned down the slope, and swept over such of them as could not 
escape. The agonizing cries of the wounded in the flames were 
heart-rending. I sent out some of our litter-bearers to help save 
the wounded, but being fired upon by the Union soldiers, I with- 
drew them. Four or five of my men were killed and five or six 
times as many more were wounded; but we held our position 
against all odds. There is an iron tablet set up by the battle-field 


commission to mark what is supposed to be the spot where the 
Fifteenth Alabama fought on Snodgrass Hill. 

It was getting late in the afternoon when Law's adjutant-gen- 
eral came up and said he had been hunting for us for two hours ; 
that the other regiments of the brigade had not been in action 
since the engagement of the forenoon. He told me to withdraw, 
and that Grade's brigade was going into action at that point. As 
we marched away I had our dead men carried out on the shoulders 
of men detailed for that purpose, and buried them alongside of 
each other that night. As we moved out we passed Grade's bri- 
gade going in, in echelon of battalions, as handsomely as a com- 
mand ever moved to such perilous work. It never had been in 
battle, and the ranks were full. 

Soon the roar of musketry became very heavy, and so continued 
for about one hour. Gen. Gordon Granger's reserve division was 
brought up to the support of Thomas, whose corps was all of 
Rosecrans's army that still held out. General Law placed a bat- 
tery of twelve twelve-pounder Napoleon guns so as to enfilade 
Thomas and beat back Granger. But the latter arrived just in 
time to aid Thomas to retreat, which he did in pretty good order, 
but lost a great many prisoners. We all — even the private sol- 
diers — expected Bragg to order us forward in close pursuit that 
night or early the next morning. That night — Sunday, Septem- 
ber 20, 1863 — I never felt happier, and visited the camp-fire of 
every company in the regiment. We had gone through another 
great battle and the lives of many of us were spared, and we were 
victorious. I say "we," because I think that nearly every man 
present who participated in the fight felt about as I did. And no 
one but an old soldier who has "been there" knows how good we 
felt. Our losses were pretty heavy, but we had borne a conspic- 
uous part in winning a great victory The regiment had lost 
eleven killed and one hundred and twenty-one wounded out of 
about four hundred and fifty who went into action on Saturday. 

The losses of the Confederates had been very considerable, in 
both officers and men. Brigadier-Generals Deshler, Helm, and 
Gist were killed, and several were wounded, among them Major- 
General Hood, who lost one leg. 

The next morning, to our surprise, the only order that came 
from General Bragg was to furnish details to gather up the arms 
scattered over the field. A.bout midday we were ordered to a 
camp a mile or two from the scene of the late battle. Rosecrans's 


army was badly beaten, and went into Chattanooga demoralized. 
Bragg's vanguard could have entered the town with Thomas's 
rear, his being the only organized command. But the victory of 
Chickamauga, won at a fearful cost, was rendered barren by the in- 
action and lack of enterprise of the commanding general. I never 
did see or hear of any good excuse for it. I do not know what in- 
fluenced his course. In General Gordon's book of "Reminiscences 
of the Civil War" he attempts to justify Bragg's failure to follow 
up the victory, but is not successful in this writer's opinion. In 
his official report Longstreet was hard on Bragg, but not unjust. 
The next day after the battle Bragg called on Longstreet and 
asked his opinion as to what should be his next move, and the lat- 
ter advised that Bragg cross his army over the Tennessee River 
above Chattanooga and move against Rosecrans's rear, thus forc- 
ing him to retreat in the direction of Nashville; or turn in the 
direction of Cumberland Gap, destroying the force of Burnside at 
Knoxville, etc. Bragg did not take this advice, and he was right, 
for none of the reenforcements he had received just before the 
battle had transportation for supplies on such a move. There 
were no pontoon trains to insure a rapid crossing of a broad and 
treacherous stream then barely fordable at but two points which 
could have been available, and then in case of heavy rains it would 
soon have become unfordable at any point. Besides, such a move 
would have exposed Bragg's communications and have opened 
the way for the Union army to advance on Dalton and even 
Atlanta. It might not have been able to advance without sup- 
plies, but the Union cavalry could have done incalculable damage. 
Bragg adopted the policy of closing in around Chattanooga, and 
holding the river, the railroads, and all the wagon-roads but one, 
and made the mistake of putting Longstreet on his left and in 
command of the mountain and Lookout Valley, when his heart 
was not in that policy ; and the position was lost before the Union 
army was starved into a retreat. 

Forrest on the next day after the battle urged a vigorous pur- 
suit and assault on the beaten army at once, and that was common 
sense, and promised the only fruits of the victory of Chickamauga 
that were attainable. 

The following is Gen. Alexander P Stewart's account of the 
battle, prepared at my request. He was a West Pointer, a major- 
general, and subsequently promoted to the high rank of lieutenant- 
general : 


Beginning on Friday afternoon, the 18th, and continuing throughout Satur- 
day and Sunday, the 19th and 20th of September, 1863, there was fought in the 
northwest corner of Georgia the greatest battle that ever was or perhaps that 
ever will be fought on this continent — the battle of Chickamauga. The Con- 
federate army, under the command of Gen. Braxton Bragg, was occupying 
Chattanooga, Tennessee, on the south bank of the Tennessee River. The Fed- 
eral army, under the command of Gen. William S. Rosecrans, was occupying 
the southern part of middle Tennessee. In the latter part of August General 
Rosecrans pushed the heads of his columns toward various crossings of the 
Tennessee River, and early in September had completed the passage of that 
formidable stream. 

Lookout Mountain takes its origin on the south bank of the Tennessee 
River a few miles south of Chattanooga, and extends in a direction west by 
south some forty miles or more. About twenty miles south of Chattanooga a 
spur makes off from the east flank of the mountain in a northeasterly direc- 
tion, known as Pigeon Ridge. The acute angle formed by this ridge and 
Lookout Mountain is known as McLemore's Cove. With a view to compell- 
ing General Bragg to evacuate Chattanooga, General Rosecrans determined to 
move his army so as to threaten General Bragg's communications. Accord- 
ingly, one corps was moved to the right, or south of Lookout Mountain, in the 
direction of Alpine and Summerville, Georgia. Another corps was moved 
across Lookout Mountain into McLemore's Cove, while the third corps threat- 
ened Chattanooga. General Bragg, in order to gain time for reenforcements to 
arrive from Virginia, and also with the hope of catching Rosecrans's army di- 
vided as it emerged from the mountain region, and so having an opportunity 
to strike it in detail, and not having a sufficient force to accomplish these ob- 
jects, and to hold Chattanooga besides, evacuated Chattanooga on the 7th and 
8th of September, and moved his army to the south in the direction of Lafay- 
ette, Georgia, thus placing it opposite to the eastern flank of Lookout Moun- 

General Rosecrans labored under the mistaken impression that General 
Bragg was in full retreat for Rome or Atlanta. On the nth of September 
he discovered his great error. At that time a part of the center corps of his 
army was camped at Davis's Cross Roads, McLemore's Cove ; while General 
Bragg had a superior force within striking distance. Thus the opportunity 
which General Bragg hoped for of striking the enemy in detail had presented 
itself, and imperative orders were sent to the commanding officer of the Con- 
federate force in the vicinity of Davis's Cross Roads to attack the enemy at 
that point at daylight on the morning of that day. For some reason, which 
does not seem to be clearly understood, the attack was not made — the right 
man was not there in command — and before the day passed the Federal force 
at that point made its escape toward the mountain. If this attack had been 
made, no doubt that portion of Thomas's corps which was at Davis's Cross 
Roads would have been crushed, and General Bragg's army would have been 
placed between the corps commanded by McCook, which was in the direction 
of Alpine, and the corps commanded by Crittenden, which had passed through 
and occupied Chattanooga on the 9th of September, had moved south in the 
direction of Lafayette and Ringgold, following General Bragg's army. 

It would hardly have been possible for both these corps to have made their 
escape across the Tennessee River, and probably there would have been no 
battle of Chickamauga. 

General Rosecrans, discovering his great error, immediately began to con- 
centrate his army, moving McCook's corps and Crittenden's toward Chatta- 
nooga. General Bragg, failing to accomplish his purpose to strike the enemy 
in detail, concentrated his army about Lafayette and moved on the east side 
of Chickamauga toward Chattanooga. The fighting on the afternoon of Sep- 
tember 18th was for the possession of the bridges and fords across the Chicka- 


mauga, most of which fell into the hands of the Confederates. The advance 
of General Rosecrans's army from McLemore's Cove passed Crawfish Springs 
during the night of the 18th, and continued its movements through the night, 
arriving early in the morning of the 19th at the road from Chattanooga to 
Lafayette at a point two or three miles west of Reed's Bridge. Learning that 
a Confederate force had crossed the Chickamauga, General Thomas, who led 
the advance of Rosecrans's army, sent a division toward Reed's Bridge with 
instructions to capture this force. Moving out some distance, deploying his 
troops in line of battle and throwing out skirmishers, the commander of this 
division soon found himself confronted by the dismounted cavalry of Forrest's 
command, and the battle of Chickamauga commenced. 

General Forrest, finding himself opposed by infantry, and greatly outnum- 
bered, proceeded to his left and rear to bring up reenforcements. Walker's 
reserve corps of infantry was brought up, and in the meantime other infantry 
divisions on the Federal side successively arrived on the ground and engaged 
in the battle. Other divisions on both sides were brought into action as they 
successively arrived, and thus the battle extended from the vicinity of Reed's 
Bridge in a southwesterly direction across the Lafayette Road, near what is 
known as the Brotherton Place, to the west side of that road, and veered 
again, south of that point, to the east side of the road near what is known as 
the Viniard Place, and the battle raged along this line throughout the day of 
the 19th without any decisive results. 

During the night the Federal lines were drawn back to the vicinity of the 
Lafayette Road, the left of General Rosecrans's army being placed in the 
woods to the north and east of a field, in a direction parallel to the Lafayette 
Road, and then turning westward at what is known as the Poe Field, crossed 
to the west side of Lafayette Road and extended southward parallel to this 
road and a few hundred yards to the west. The orders issued by General 
Bragg directed that the attack upon this line should commence at daylight 
on the morning of the 20th on his extreme right, and should be taken up suc- 
cessively by divisions to his extreme left. The Confederate troops that should 
have been in position, and commenced the attack at daylight as ordered, were 
the divisions of Breckinridge and Cleburne, composing a corps commanded 
by Gen. D. H. Hill. Unfortunately, General Hill could not be found during 
the night, and did not receive his orders until late the next morning. Conse- 
quently his troops were not in position and ready to attack the enemy at day- 
light, and the attack was delayed until somewhere near 10 o'clock. If the 
attack had begun at daylight, as the Federal troops were not then all in posi- 
tion, and especially were not then protected by barricades of timber as they 
were at a later hour, the probabilities are that General Rosecrans's army would 
have been completely overrun before the attack actually began and General 
Bragg's army would have been interposed between the enemy and Chattanooga. 
By the time the battle actually opened the left of the Federal army opposed to 
the Confederate right was well protected by barricades made of timber already 
on the ground and such as was felled by the Federal troops during these 
hours of delay, and this protection extended to some extent along their entire 
line of battle. In consequence of this the attacks on the Confederate right 
were repulsed; but at length a division of the Federal army near the center 
was drawn out of their line for the purpose of being moved to their left, and 
just then the divisions composing the left wing of the Confederate army, which 
was under the command of General Longstreet, began their advance move- 
ment and the Federal division referred to was swept away, and as the assault 
proceeded toward the Confederate left the whole of the right wing of General 
Rosecrans's army gave way. Some of the divisions retreated across Mission- 
ary Ridge into the valley of Chattanooga Creek and moved down that valley 
to Chattanooga. Other portions fell back, changing direction to their right 
and rear, and finally gained position on Snodgrass Ridge, a spur that makes 


out in an easterly direction from the east flank of Missionary Ridge. Thus 
their position was at right angles to the general line as it was first formed. 
The Confederate troops followed them, and the battle raged around the Kelly 
Field and on Snodgrass Ridge until near the close of the day. 

At length orders were sent to the commanders of the various Federal divis- 
ions to withdraw their troops and retire toward Chattanooga. Before this 
order was acted upon the Confederate troops broke through the left of the 
Federal line and also its right along Snodgrass Hill, so that the Federal posi- 
tion was no longer tenable. The various divisions of the Federal army fell 
back from around the Kelly Field and from Snodgrass Ridge, and were pur- 
sued until dusk by the Confederates, so that the Confederates have a clear right 
to claim Chickamauga as a Confederate victory. It was the general opinion 
in the Confederate army that General Bragg should have pursued the enemy 
at an early hour on Monday morning, but unfortunately he delayed the pursuit 
until the next day, by which time the enemy had gained possession of the 
works around Chattanooga, and in a measure had recovered from their panic 

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Bragg's Effort to Starve the Union Army to Retreat or Surrender — The Fif- 
teenth Ordered Into Lookout Valley — A Night Attack That Failed — Sus- 
picious Appearances Reported — Rosecrans Superseded by Grant — Poor 
Generalship on the Confederate Side — The Fight at Brown's Ferry- 
Wounding of Colonel Oates — Battle of Wauhatchee and Loss of Lookout 
Valley — An Eccentric Captain — Responsibility for Loss of Lookout 

After Bragg had given Rosecrans two or three days to collect, 
reorganize, and reanimate his forces, strengthen and man his 
fortifications, he moved on Chattanooga, closed up about as close 
around it as he could safely get, and went to digging and fortify- 
ing. Around near to Lookout Mountain Law's brigade went into 
position. Jenkins's South Carolina brigade, which had but re- 
cently been attached to the division, arrived after Chickamauga, 
and Jenkins, holding the rank over Law, assumed command of the 
division. The rivalry between Law and Jenkins which followed 
was very unfortunate for the service. 

We were very scarce of rations, and for a day or two skir- 
mished pretty lively with our Yankee neighbors over a corn-field 
to see who should have the most corn to parch. I believe we got 
the most. 

One night while here Law ordered me to take my regiment 
down to a little creek and effect a crossing if practicable, and drive 
the Federals out of their fortifications, stating that he would follow 
with the other four regiments and a battery of artillery. I moved 
the regiment to within about 150 yards of the crossing and, had 
the men lie down. Taking a small detail from Captain Wad- 
dell's company I cautiously advanced to reconnoiter the place be- 
fore undertaking to force a passage. First Lieut. Thomas M. 
Renfroe and another man went to the ford, when a vidette stand- 
ing at the water's edge on the other side discovered and shot at 
them. That brought up a row of heads along the rifle pit on the 
opposite bank. Lieutenant Renfroe and his man retreated a short 
distance and took shelter behind a tree from the shower of bullets 


which was sent after them. One shot passed through Renfroe's 
left arm, which disabled him by a stiff arm for life. He was for 
many years after the war a prominent citizen, merchant, and busi- 
ness man in Fort Gaines, Georgia. He died at that place in 1889. 

At this juncture Law's battery opened on the enemy, and their 
fire of artillery and small arms in reply was very lively for a 
while. The creek was of horse-shoe shape, the Federal line being 
across the toe. The banks, except at the crossing, were precip- 
itous, the water deep, with difficult jungles of vine and under- 
growth on each side. I therefore decided against the practicabil- 
ity of the movement, and so reported to Law, who approved my 
decision and withdrew us to our camps. 

About the 12th or 13th day of October I was sent with my regi- 
ment — a section of the Louisiana battery, the Fourth Ala- 
bama, Colonel Bowles, having preceded us — over the mountain 
and into Lookout Valley. Bowles went under orders to the end 
of Raccoon Mountain on the east side and placed his regiment as 
sharp-shooters to fire across the river and prevent use by the en- 
emy of the wagon-road on the opposite side. I passed over Look- 
out at night, taking the road by the Craven House. I had to go 
at night, and very quietly at that, to avoid the fire of the Federal 
battery on Moccasin Point. 

The horses to the two pieces of artillery and caissons were 
poor, and failed to pull the pieces and loaded caissons up the 
mountain. The noise and whooping of the drivers attracted the 
attention of the batterymen, and they began to lam shells against 
the side of the mountain uncomfortably near to the men, horses, 
and guns. I saw that something had to be done at once. I there- 
fore made details of a whole company at a time for each of the 
guns and caissons to shove them up, and with the pushing ot ilie 
men and the pulling of the horses we finally got them up the moun- 
tain, but it took all night to do it. It was good daylight when we 
got over on the side next to Lookout Creek. I remained there 
until I received specific instructions that day to take command of 
the valley, not to interfere with the Fourth Alabama where it was 
stationed, but to picket the river from that regiment up to Brown's 
Ferry, and to obtain all the supplies I could legitimately. I moved 
into the valley and selected a central position for the encamp- 
ment of my reserves, and placed five of the companies on picket 
along the river. Rations had to be brought to us on pack mules 
from the other side of the mountain, which made it quite difficult 


to supply us. I soon succeeded in buying a small herd of beef 
cattle and ninety sheep, all fat and nice, from a Mr. Williams. I 
also got a field of corn and set the men of the reserve to gathering 
and shelling it. There was near by a corn-mill run by water, 
whose owner was a Union man, who refused to grind for the 
soldiers. I impressed his mill and detailed from the regiment a 
miller to run it. We then had new corn-bread and an abundance 
of the finest fat beef and mutton, and we lived "in clover" during 
the two weeks we remained there. 

There is an island in the river known as Williams's Island. He 
resided there, and had a farm on it. He was a true Confederate, 
and when the Yankees got too thick for him he, with his family, 
came over into the valley on our side and left cattle, sheep, and 
other property at his island home, which were being destroyed 
by the two or three companies that were stationed there. He vis- 
ited my camp to get permission to pass through my pickets to go 
over and see what they were doing. After a day or two I satis- 
fied myself that he was reliable, and I passed him through. I told 
him to observe as well as he could the number and disposition of 
the troops on the island and report to me. He did so, and re- 
ported that there was a regiment on the island, but so negligent in 
their fancied security that he went all about without encountering 
any guards; that there were no guards except on the river, and 
they at such wide intervals that he had no difficulty in passing be- 
tween them. I asked him if he would go as a guide with an ex- 
pedition to capture the island, and he replied that he would with 

That evening I called for forty volunteers from the regiment 
"to go on a perilous expedition," and got more than enough men ; 
but none of the officers having volunteered, I resolved to lead the 
expedition myself. I informed my forty men of my purpose and 
made a detail from them to gather all the skiffs and canoes they 
could and make the collection fast under some willows in a bend 
of the river which concealed them from the enemy The collec- 
tion was made on the night of the 24th of October and the expe- 
dition was to go over the next night. According to orders, my 
squad borrowed pistols of the officers and prepared well their En- 
field rifles for the occasion. About 10 o'clock P M. I moved the 
reserve down to the river and formed it in line of battle behind a 
ridge of sand formed by high water, and left Captain Shaaff in 
command, with instructions to fire across the river and protect us 


in recrossing in case we had to retreat. Thus prepared, my men 
embarked in the boats. It was at a point some distance below the 
regular crossing, and opposite to a dense cane-marsh in which I 
intended to land, where no guard or picket had ever been seen. 
My intention was, after landing, to follow Williams, Indian file, 
through the swamp to the most available point for concealment 
and observation of the enemy, and then, after fully informing my- 
self of the situation, at midnight or later, when all were asleep, to 
creep stealthily up and pounce upon them, killing and capturing as 
many as possible, and of course taking the chances of success 
against a regiment. Old man Williams was with me, armed, and 
eager to make himself useful and to avenge the wrongs perpe- 
trated upon him and his property. I directed Sergeant O'Conner, 
of Company K, who was to act as my lieutenant, to shove off, hav- 
ing in the boat with him Mr. Williams and two men , and then one 
after another of the boats shoved out into the stream, until the 
largest and last one, which contained eleven men and myself, was 
well out on the bosom of the broad Tennessee. When O'Conner 
landed, and as he caught hold of the reeds and pulled up to the 
shore, a sentinel pointed his gun within a few feet of Pat's face 
and fired. With that a line of pickets at close distance along the 
bank opened fire. I called to the men in advance to fall back and 
drift with the current. I saw that my project was at an end and 
the thing to do then was to make a successful retreat. The balls 
chugged into the water all around and among us. One shot 
passed through the side of my boat between my legs as I sat on the 
side of it, but within a minute the reserve companies returned the 
compliment with such vigor and precision that the fire of our ene- 
mies ceased, and I fortunately succeeded in getting back without 
loss or injury of a single man, notwithstanding several of the 
boats were struck. 

The next day some of the pickets, just below where I attempted 
to cross, found a suit of red jeans clothes near the water's edge, 
and the tracks where a man — a deserter, I think — went down to 
the water. I am satisfied that he found out what was going forth, 
swam across early in the night, and informed the Yankees that we 
were coming; for just before night there were no pickets on or 
near the point of my proposed landing. The next day I observed 
a park of artillery going down on the opposite side of the river 
and that their pickets were doubled along the water front. 


I made a report that day in writing of all these things to Gen- 
eral Jenkins, the division commander. According to the regular 
order of proceedings, I should have reported to General Law, my 
brigade commander ; but I was not instructed to whom to report, 
and concluded that I was on detached outpost duty, and hence re- 
ported to the division commander. I afterwards became satisfied 
that I was in error, and should have reported directly to General 

On the afternoon of the 27th of October I again reported ap- 
pearances, and gave my opinion that an attack was going to be 
made on me and asked for reenforcements. I was satisfied that 
the man who swam the river had informed the enemy of the num- 
ber of troops I had and that they intended to cross and clear the 
valley of Confederates. The Federal army was dependent for ra- 
tions and supplies upon the two wagon-roads to their rear, one 
almost impracticable, and the other a macadamized one, which 
passes along the opposite bank of the river, where the Fourth Ala- 
bama fired across and shot down teams and drivers and com- 
pletely prevented the use of it. 

With the railroads in our possession, General Bragg's policy of 
starving the enemy into a retreat was about to prevail. Of course 
its success depended on maintaining the status in Lookout Valley. 
I knew the importance of it, and did not intend to leave any duty 
devolving on me unperformed. 

On the 24th of October General Grant superseded Rosecrans 
and took command of the army. In his official report he gives 
the following account of its situation and condition : 

Our forces at Chattanooga were practically invested, the enemy's line ex- 
tending from the Tennessee River above Chattanooga to the river at and below 
the point of Lookout Mountain below Chattanooga, with the south bank of 
the river picketed to near Bridgeport, his main force being fortified in Chatta- 
nooga Valley, at the foot of and on Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, 
and a brigade in Lookout Valley. True, we held possession of the country 
north of the river, but it was from 60 to 70 miles over the most impracticable 
of roads to any supplies. The artillery horses and mules had become so re- 
duced by starvation that they could not have been relied on for moving any- 
thing. Any attempt at retreat must have been with men alone and with only 
such supplies as they could carry. A retreat would have been almost certain 
annihilation, for the enemy, occupying positions within gunshot of and over- 
looking our very fortifications, would unquestionably have pursued our re- 
treating forces. Already more than 10,000 animals had perished in supplying 
half rations to the troops by the long, tedious route from Stevenson and 
Bridgeport to Chattanooga, over Walden's Ridge. They could not have been 
supplied another week. The enemy was evidently fully apprised of our condi- 
tion in Chattanooga, and of the necessity of our establishing a new and shorter 
line by which to obtain supplies, or we could not maintain our position, 



On the 24th of October, the next day after General Grant ar- 
rived, in company with General Thomas and Brig.-Gen. W F. 
Smith, chief engineer of the army, he rode down on the north 
side of the river and viewed Brown's Ferry, the banks of the 
river, and the hills on the south side, and saw the Confederate 
pickets, and decided that it was the place for attack. General 
Grant said in his book that when they were at the ferry it was a 
wonder to him that the Confederate pickets on the opposite side 
of the river did not fire on him and his party, but he attributed 
their good nature to the fact that they were expecting the whole 
army to surrender within a few days, and thought it unnecessary 
and cruel to kill any of them. I imagine that if Captain Feagin 
(now Judge of the Inferior Court of Birmingham, Alabama) had 
seen Grant, Thomas, and Smith dismount and walk down to the 
ferry he would not have been so amiable as the guards on duty 
seemed to have been, and might have foiled their plans to remove 
him, and possibly have changed the personnel of the future seven- 
teenth President of the United States, for Captain Feagin was a 
vigilant officer. 

Grant deemed it necessary to capture Brown's Ferry and get 
into Lookout Valley. He said in his report : 

Before the enemy could be apprised of our intentions, a force under the 
direction of Brig.-Gen. W F Smith, chief engineer, was to be thrown across 
the river at or near Brown's Ferry to seize the range of hills at the mouth of 
Lookout Valley, covering the Brown's Ferry Road, and orders were given 
accordingly. It was known that the enemy held the north end of Lookout 
Valley with a brigade of troops, and the road leading around the foot of the 
mountain from their main camps in Chattanooga Valley to Lookout Valley. 
Holding these advantages he would have little difficulty in concentrating a 
sufficient force to have defeated or driven Hooker back. To remedy this the 
seizure of the range of hills at the mouth of Lookout Valley and covering the 
Brown's Ferry Road was deemed of the highest importance. This, by the use 
of pontoon bridges at Chattanooga and Brown's Ferry, would secure to us by 
the north bank of the river, across Moccasin Point, a shorter line by which to 
reenforce our troops in Lookout Valley than the narrow and tortuous road 
around the foot of Lookout Mountain afforded the enemy for reenforcing his. 
The force detailed for this expedition consisted of 4,000 men, under command 
of General Smith, chief engineer, 1,800 of which, under Brig.-Gen. W. B. 
Hazen, in sixty pontoon boats, containing thirty armed men each, floated 
quietly from Chattanooga past the enemy's pickets to the foot of Lookout 
Mountain on the night of the 27th of October, landed on the south side of the 
river at Brown's Ferry, surprised the enemy's pickets stationed there, and 
seized the hills covering the ferry, without the loss of a man killed and but 
four or five wounded. 


He here speaks only of the casualties inflicted by Company B of 
the Fifteenth, which was the picket stationed there, because in the 
fighting which followed there were many casualties. 

Just after dark on the 27th of October a courier from General 
Duke, or the officer commanding the remnant of Morgan's cav- 
alry, then only three hundred strong, brought me a message in 
purport that a heavy force of the enemy, infantry and artillery, 
were attempting to cross the river south of the Raccoon Moun- 
tain, near Bridgeport, and that he was powerless to prevent them, 
and that when they did so and advanced to the east end and 
turned Raccoon they would cut off my retreat and capture my 
command. A reenforcement of two army corps had been sent 
from the Army of the Potomac under "Fighting Joe" Hooker. 
These were the troops which were reported as in the act of cross- 
ing at Bridgeport, south of the Raccoon. On receiving the mes- 
sage I wrote it, together with the grounds of my apprehension 
that an attack on me that night, or early the next morning, was 
imminent, and sent it to General Longstreet with a request to send 
reenforcements without delay ; that he send me at least one more 
regiment that night. The courier returned before midnight and 
stated that he had delivered my communication to General Long- 
street, as I had directed, and had a receipt for it. No other re- 
sponse came, and I lay down and tried to sleep. Some time be- 
fore day I dropped off into a doze, when I was aroused by William 
C. Jordan, a private in Company B, who was on the horse of the 
courier stationed with that company at my upper picket post at 
Brown's Ferry. The courier was asleep when the enemy landed. 
They crowded Captain Feagin so that he directed Jordan to mount 
the courier's horse and go for me. Jordan obeyed with alacrity, 
but did not have time to get saddle or bridle, and rode bareback, 
guiding the horse by the rope with which he was tied. 

Jordan informed me that the Yankees were crossing the river 
and had driven Captain Feagin and his company away from 
Brown's Ferry I asked how many he saw, and he replied, 
"Some seventy-five or one hundred." I had the long roll beaten, 
and gave orders for the men to leave their knapsacks in camp and 
their little tent flies standing. Leaving one or two sick men to 
guard the camp, I mounted my horse and we moved off as rapidly 
as possible. Along the river at Brown's Ferry there is a ridge or 
little mountain. The gap through this leads to the ferry. Just 
before reaching the gap and when within twenty steps of them, I 


heard the invaders at work building breastworks. I came near 
riding- into them. I turned and rode down my line, telling the 
captains in a whisper to about face. We were marching left in 
front, and when we got about one hundred yards to the rear, coun- 
termarched. I then detailed two companies, Captains Shaaff and 
Waddell, and ordered them to deploy their men at one pace apart 
and instruct them to walk right up to the foe, and for every man 
to place the muzzle of his rifle against the body of a Yankee when 
he fired. Away they went in the darkness. I could hear nothing 
more than the enemy's hammering and a stick crack here and 
there. I waited in breathless silence for them to fire, a much 
longer time than I thought was necessary ; but when they did fire 
it must have done terrible execution, judging from the confusion 
of the enemy which followed. I could hear some running through 
the woods, others crying out, "We surrender, we surrender !" and 
some of the officers, I suppose, crying, "Halt ! halt ! Where are 

you going, you d d cowards?" My companies got inside 

their works and drove them, capturing eleven prisoners. But the 
Federal line to my right fired on us heavily, and to meet that I de- 
ployed in like manner Company K and put it into the action. 
Their fire still outflanked me on the right. I put in one company 
after another, until all six of my reserves were into it, and still I 
could not cover the enemy's front. Company F — Captain Wil- 
liams — was the last one I put in. The three left companies got 
inside the enemy's log defenses which they were constructing and 
drove them toward the river, capturing the ridge west of the gap ; 
but my other three could not drive the Yankees from their posi- 
tion. Company E (Dale County), Lieutenant Glover, of Com- 
pany B, commanding, had five men killed — all shot through the 
head, one right after another. I remember now the name of but 
one of them — David Snell. I had a bullet pass through my left 
coat sleeve and my horse was shot. Captain Terrell, of Law's 
staff, arrived, and I sent him for the Fourth Alabama to withdraw 
and bring it to my assistance. I next sent a courier down the 
river to withdraw my other five companies and to bring them as 
speedily as possible, as I then knew that I was contending with a 
force greatly superior to my own. The fight continued. I went 
to the right company, as I could not see the officers, and it was not 
moving forward. 

Day was then breaking and lighting up the woods so that I 
could see men twenty or thirty steps distant. I saw Sergt. Wil- 


son Greenway, of Company F, step forward, crying, "Come on, 
men; it is a shame to lie back this way!" and he fell severely 
wounded. I rushed in among the men and ordered them for- 
ward, and went forward myself, and when within about thirty 
steps of the enemy (I could see their heads as they fired from be- 
hind some logs) I was shot through my right hip and thigh, the 
ball striking the thigh bone one inch below the hip joint, slightly 
fracturing it, ran around it and passed through eight inches of 
flesh. It struck a blow as though a brick had been hurled against 
me, and hurt so badly that I started to curse as I fell, and said 
"God d — ," when thinking that possibly I was killed, and that it 
would not seem well for a man to die with an oath in his mouth, 
I cut it off at that d — and did not finish the sentence. All this 
flashed through my mind as I fell. I tried to move my foot, but 
could not ; I could only work my toes a little. M. E. Meredith, a 
playmate of my early boyhood, came and raised me up in a sitting 
position. I saw another man from Pike County, whom I had 
known from boyhood — Jeff Hussey — sitting behind a stump, and 
it occurred to me that he was there through fear, and charging 
him with cowardice, accompanied by unparliamentary language 
(I had forgotten my recent conversion), I ordered him to come 
out from behind that stump and help me. His response was an 
eloquent one. He held up one of his arms, which was bleeding 
profusely I told him that I took back what I had said, but that 
he ought to be away from there as well as myself, and he could 
help me with the other arm, which he did. As I hopped off on 
my left leg, with my arms around the shoulders of these two men, 
I expected at every step that some of us would catch in the back 
one of the many balls that were flying around us, but fortunately 
we escaped. They took me to a little house, where many of our 
wounded had been collected in the yard, and laid me down among 
them. I told Hussey to get out and take care of himself, and how 
to go to avoid capture. Meredith I ordered to return to his com- 
pany, and to tell Captain Shaaff that he was in command, and to 
use his best judgment, but not to lose the artillery, which was 
then firing from an apple orchard one hundred yards from the 
little house. 

Soon after he left me the balls from the enemy were striking 
the fence, or in the yard, ricochetting, and then hitting the house. 
The only inmates were two ladies. I was bleeding copiously and 
became very thirsty. I begged the ladies for a drink of water. 


One of them came to the door with a dipper of water, when a shot 
struck the house or fence and she jumped back and shrieked with 
fright. Seeing that there was no other chance to get the water, 
and my thirst now being almost unendurable, I crawled and 
dragged my wounded limb through the dirt of the yard to the 
doorsteps, when the ladies took me by the arms, helped me into 
the house, and gave me water — God bless them ! My men, poor 
fellows, lay scattered over the yard, bleeding and begging for 
water, with no one to help them. The litter-bearers were busy 
bringing back the wounded. The ladies gave me another cold 
draught, and never did water taste sweeter. The fabled nectar of 
the gods would not compare with it. M. E. Meredith and Jeff 
Hussey attended a reunion of the survivors of the old regiment 
held in Montgomery, Alabama, November 12 and 13, 1902, and 
were enjoying good health. I feel very grateful to those men. 
They saved me from capture. 

But a few minutes elapsed before little Joe Rushing, my or- 
derly, brought my other horse. I told him to go out and call two 
of the artillerymen to come and put me on him, which was done. 
I thanked the frightened ladies as I was carried from their house. 
Just as I mounted, my man Jordan, before mentioned, came up 
with eleven prisoners. This was about sunrise. I told him to 
return, that I would take charge of them. I gave my pistol to 
Rushing and told him, in their hearing, to walk just ahead of my 
horse with the prisoners in front, and if one of them looked back 
to shoot him. I told them to take the road ahead of us. We 
went a round-about way, a distance of about four miles, to reach 
the bridge on Lookout Creek, to avoid interception and capture, 
which by the direct road was but little over half that distance. I 
came very near fainting more than once. My boot was running 
over with blood, and the wound made it very painful for me to 
ride. I would have fainted, but we crossed several bright little 
streams, at some of which I made the prisoners halt. The hind- 
most man had a tin cup, and I made him give me water and then 
let him give drink to his comrades. Just before we reached the 
bridge, and right in front of a house, I met Doctor Hudson, the 
brigade surgeon. He made the prisoners lift me off my horse, 
and started to lay me on the piazza, when a stout-looking woman 
appeared in the doorway, and with the look of a female hyena 
and the delectable voice of a sand-hill crane, shouted, "Don't bring 
that nasty rebel into my house; I forbid it!" Dr. Hudson told 


the men to take me in, and turning to her he said, "Madam, get 

me some old linen to bind up this man's wound, and be d d 

quick about it, or I will have your house laid in ashes!" Her 
manner changed, and she complied with the doctor's request in 
less than a minute. He had me laid on the floor on the veranda, 
gave me a drink of whiskey — which I very much enjoyed, as 
every wounded man does — and bound up my wound so as to stop 
the blood. 

A member of the regiment, James M. Williams, of Dale, one 
of the best citizens of that patriotic county, came up, and I turned 
over the prisoners to him, directing him to take them across the 
mountain to the provost guard. I directed him to search them 
for concealed weapons before starting. He did so, and took from 
their pockets several packages of cartridges. Some of these were 
carelessly laid upon the floor, and two of the prisoners slyly took 
up a package each and put them back into their coat pockets. 
After Williams had started and proceeded some distance with 
them, a straggling soldier who was present, having stopped to see 
what was going on, inquired, "I wonder what them prisoners 
wanted with them cartridges ? I saw two of them pick up a pack- 
age each and put them in their pockets." I immediately had him 
call to Williams to bring them back. He did so, and I told him 
to search again, which he did, and found the cartridges. They 
intended to take his gun, kill him, and make their escape. In the 
light of reason, at this late day, we cannot blame them ; but at the 
time I felt very much like firing on them with my pistol. It was 
yet early in the morning, the sun being but little over one hour 
high. Williams survived the war, is an excellent citizen, lives in 
Andalusia, Alabama, and attended the reunion previously men- 

About this time General Law arrived with the other three regi- 
ments of his brigade and the Texas Brigade. He halted and 
came in to see me and to learn the situation in the valley. I told 
him that he was too late, in my opinion, to accomplish anything ; 
that a heavy force had already crossed the river. I suggested 
that he ride up on an eminence near, from which he could over- 
look the river to Williams's Island and the greater part of the val- 
ley, although it is a valley full of hills and small valleys. He 
went up, but soon returned, and said I was quite right ; that they 
had laid a pontoon bridge and had then at least a corps in the 


Four Alabamians and four Texans were detailed, by General 
Law's order, to carry me on a litter over Lookout Mountain, and 
they did so — over the highest part, to avoid the battery on Mocca- 
sin Point, several shells from which exploded near us and some 
went entirely over the mountain. One of these men, Robert 
Espy, of Company K, Fifteenth Alabama, now lives in Abbeville, 
Alabama, and is a highly respected citizen. He also attended the 
reunion in November, 1902, thirty-nine years after this occur- 

I arrived at our field hospital just before night, where I found 
Doctor Davis, the accomplished surgeon of the Fifteenth Ala- 
bama, who probed and dressed my wound and made me as com- 
fortable as possible during the night. 

General Law reported back to Longstreet, or Jenkins, the situa- 
tion, and placed his troops in a position to aid the Fourth Ala- 
bama and my five companies which were on picket to get out. 
They retreated eastward along the Raccoon Mountain, and got 
out late that afternoon without loss. Captain Shaaff also suc- 
ceeded in getting out with the six companies which had been en- 
gaged and the artillery. At one time the gunners abandoned one 
piece and one caisson, but the Fifteenth Alabama men compelled 
the batterymen to carry them out, and both guns and caissons 
were thus saved from capture ; but the men who were too badly 
wounded to travel afoot, our dead, our camp and baggage, with 
all of the men's blankets and clothing, except what they had on, 
and a considerable quantity of supplies, were unavoidably left to 
the enemy. 

Major Lowther came up that day, after the battle was over, 
and took command of the regiment. 

General Bragg claims that he entrusted to General Longstreet 
the entire left wing of his army, and that included Lookout Val- 
ley. Longstreet denies this, and says that his command of the 
left wing extended only to and included Lookout Mountain. He 
did, however, commit the Lookout Valley to Law to hold against 
the enemy by obstructing and preventing the use by the Union 
army of the river, the M. & C. Railroad, and all wagon-roads, save 
one by which they could get supplies. Law sent the Fourth Ala- 
bama to do this perilous and all-important work down to the point 
of Raccoon to act as sharp-shooters and prevent the use of the 
river and the wagon-road on the other side of the river ; and the 
Fifteenth Alabama to picket the river from the right of the 


Fourth up to Brown's Ferry, which took five of the companies, 
leaving six in reserve, with two guns of the Louisiana battery, all 
together less than 240 men in the reserve. I suppose that Gen- 
eral Law encamped the other three regiments of his brigade near 
the western base of Lookout on the creek of that name. I was 
not informed, nor was I given any instructions — only to picket 
the river, keep the enemy from using it, and to gather all the sup- 
plies for the men I could. 

General Longstreet says in his book that when he ordered 
Law's brigade to guard the Lookout Valley that he reported to 
General Bragg that it required a division to guard it properly; 
but it seems that nothing more was said about it either by Bragg 
or himself. 

To give up the river and that valley utterly destroyed Bragg's 
policy and raised the siege of Chattanooga; yet General Long- 
street committed the defense of this valley and the maintenance of 
the siege to Law's brigade without protest, and never rode 
through it to see if Law was doing it. He and Law had become 
estranged, and the latter, disappointed in his aspirations, did not 
care whether he aided Longstreet or Jenkins in anything. Bragg 
never went into that valley to see what was going on, nor did 
Longstreet ever cross to the west side of Lookout Creek. 
Whether I did right or not to report to him on the evening of the 
27th of October, it nevertheless gave to him information that I 
was going to be attacked that night or the next morning, and if 
he desired to hold Lookout Valley he should have ordered troops 
there at once. 

General Longstreet says in his book (page 473) : 

On the night of the 27th of October General Smith moved to the execution 
of his plan against our line of sharp-shooters. He put fifty pontoon boats and 
two flatboats in the river at Chattanooga, the former to take twenty-five men 
each, the latter from forty to seventy-five — the boats to float quietly down the 
river eight miles to Brown's Ferry, cross, and land the troops. At the same 
time a sufficient force was to march by the highway to the same point, to be 
in readiness for the boats to carry them over to their comrades. The sharp- 
shooters had been posted for the sole purpose of breaking up the haul along 
the other bank, and not with a view of defending the line, nor was it defensi- 
ble, while the enemy had every convenience for making a forced crossing and 

The vigilant foe knew his opportunity, and only waited for its timely execu- 
tion. It is needless to say that General Smith had little trouble in establish- 
ing his point. He manned his boats, floated them down to the crossing, landed 
his men, and put them at work entrenching the strong ground selected for their 
holding. By daylight he was comfortably entrenched, and had his artillery on 
the other side in position to sweep along the front. 


The Confederate commander, Bragg, did not think well enough of his line 
when he had it to prepare to hold it, but when he found that the enemy pro- 
posed to use it, he thought to order his infantry down to recover the ground 
just demonstrated as indefensible, and ordered me to meet him on the moun- 
tain next morning to learn his plans and receive his instructions for the work. 

General Longstreet says of the capture of Brown's Ferry : 

On the morning of the 28th Bragg and himself met on the top of the 
mountain and saw Hooker's two corps, the Eleventh and Twelfth, from the 
Army of the Potomac, marching quietly along the valley toward Brown's 

Longstreet says in his book that they were both surprised, but 
judged the main body to be not more than 5,000 men. Seeing 
them from such a height they totally misjudged the number; it 
was not less than 10,000 men. And "the rear-guard" which they 
judged to be but 1,500 was Geary's division of the Twelfth Corps 
which went into camp at Wauhatchee, as these generals thought, 
about three miles from the other troops. They at once agreed to 
a plan to capture that rear-guard, and Bragg left, telling Long- 
street that he would send him Jenkins's and McLaws's divisions 
for the purpose. Jenkins reported to Longstreet on the top of 
the mountain, and received instructions to capture that rear- 
guard by a night attack. McLaws did not report, and Long- 
street says that Bragg neglected to order him. He says also that 
after midnight he rode down to the place for assembly and found 
the officers discussing the situation, and learned that Bragg had 
not ordered McLaws ; he says, being of the impression that Jen- 
kins understood that the move had miscarried, he rode back to 
his headquarters, "failing to give countermanding orders," as he 
himself states. Jenkins being under orders to attack, like a faith- 
ful officer went on to execute them, and got the division repulsed 
at Wauhatchee and driven out with considerable loss. His di- 
vision encountered a part of Howard's corps as well as Geary's 
division. No greater remissness in a general was ever exhibited 
than Longstreet exhibited in allowing Jenkins to go with one 
division and attack two corps of the enemy. By his negligence 
the lives of brave men were sacrificed. Our loss that night ag- 
gregated 408 men, and accomplished no good whatever. He ad- 
mits that "It was an oversight of mine not to give definite orders 
for the troops to return to their camps before leaving them." It 
was indeed a criminal oversight and neglect of duty for which 
he should have been court-martialed. 


General Longstreet further says in his book (page 477) that : 

General Jenkins was ordered to inquire into the conduct of the brigades of 
position, and reported evidence that General Law had said that he did not care 
to win General Jenkins's spurs as a major-general. He was ordered to pre- 
pare charges, but presently when we were ordered into an active campaign in 
East Tennessee he asked me to have the matter put off to a more convenient 

If the charges against General Law were true he should have 
been made to answer for his conduct without delay. Not so 
much for what he was alleged to have said, as for his alleged 
withdrawal of his command when most needed at the front. The 
fact that he never was arrested or tried is persuasive to my mind 
that the charges were not well founded. 

In the confusion incident to being flanked and driven out of 
position and into the woods in the night time, several good men 
were captured, the brave and eccentric Capt. Wm. N. Richardson 
among them. The Yankees were permitted to flank the regi- 
ment on the left and get into the rear. When this was discov- 
ered the policy adopted was to get away from there with as small 
a loss as possible. Nearly every time Major Lowther com- 
manded the regiment in battle it got demoralized. When flanked 
it broke and ran out. It was a very mixed state of affairs. The 
eccentric captain, whose organ of locality was so deficient that he 
had but little idea of places or directions, got lost from his com- 
pany in the woods, and hearing the voices of men went to them, 
and walking up among them remarked, "Well, boys, that was a 
devil of a fright we got a while ago." One placed his hand upon 
Richardson's shoulder and said, "You are my prisoner." The 
Captain inquired, "What command is this?" A response came 
in the nasal twang of the down-easter, "Eighty-second New 
York." The Captain just then awoke to a realization of his con- 
dition. He said, "Look here, gentlemen, I am most egregiously 
mistaken. I thought this was the Fifteenth Alabama. By heav- 
ens ! this ought not to count." They laughed and sent him to a 
military prison, where he remained until about the close of the 

Captain Richardson was indeed an eccentric man. He was an 
educated farmer of wealth and position ; and a great many amus- 
ing stories were told of him during the war, and in the main they 
were correct. When we were marching to the Valley in 1862 the 
Captain never had his company in marching order until a few min - 


utes later than the order required us to move. Colonel Canty was 
annoyed by this ; but to avoid personally designating him as diso- 
bedient, caused the adjutant to summon all the captains to head- 
quarters and there informed us of the order to march, and that 
the Colonel said he would arrest any of us who were not ready to 
move at the very minute. All of us who had been prompt in obe- 
dience felt indignant and murmured, while Captain Richardson, 
rubbing his eyes as if he had just awaked from a deep sleep, said, 
"Seven o'clock! Well, adjutant, can you tell me what time that 
will be?"' Of course we all burst into a laugh and retired. 

A.gain, early in 1863, when we were in camp near Richmond, 
the Captain applied to me, I then being in command of the regi- 
ment, for leave to go to the city for one day, which was promptly 
granted. I saw no more of him for three days, when I rode up 
to the city and was met by him in front of the Spottswood Hotel. 
He approached me and undertook to explain his absence without 
leave or overstaying his time. I suggested I would hear that 
when he returned to camp, but he persisted. He said that he had 
had a pretty hard life of it in the army, and he concluded when 
he got to the city that he would put up at the Spottswood and live 
one more day like a gentleman, and that the next morning when 
he went to settle his bill found that he did not have enough to pay 
it, and said, "You know I am too much of a gentleman to ever go 
away from a hotel and leave my bill unpaid, and therefore I have 
been stopping with them ever since" — as though the bill would 
get less. He wished to borrow the money from me with which 
to settle so that he could go to camp. It took three hundred dol- 
lars in Confederate money to do it, but I let him have it ; he set- 
tled and returned to camp as happy as a lord. 

Soon after we closed up around Chattanooga we were for about 
two days without rations, except parched corn. The Captain had 
a negro slave named Dick, and kept a horse for the negro to ride 
and carry the Captain's blankets and to go foraging. During 
these two days of hunger Dick did not appear. The Captain got 
furious, and swore that he would cut Dick's ears off when he saw 
him, and finally that he would kill him. But late in the evening 
of the second day Dick appeared. He came up to the Captain 
with his basket on his arm and said, "Marse Billy, I done brought 
yo' somet'ing to eat at las', dough I had er tough time to git it." 
"Yes," said the Captain, "and I am going to kill you ; you devil, 
you have allowed nu t starve;" and turned loose a volume of epi- 


thets upon the negro. Dick said no more, but set down his bas- 
ket, took out of it and spread a nice white napkin, and began to 
place the Captain's rations upon it. Among them were some 
tempting-looking pieces of brown fried tripe, of which the Cap- 
tain was unusually fond. It caught his eye; he began to lean 
over, and inspected it more and more closely. Said he, "Dick, 
what is that?" "Tripe, Marse Billy," he replied. "Where did 
you get it?" said the Captain. "Way over de mountain," said 
Dick. "I went to de butcher pen an' got it, dressed an' cooked 
it myse'f ; it am bery nice. I know'd you were fond of it." The 
Captain was captivated. "Well," said he, "Dick, I'll swear you 
are the greatest negro in the world, and I would not take your 
weight in gold for you." The fried tripe caught him and made 
Dick a great negro. 

At the battle of Fredericksburg, when we were under the fire of 
thirty pieces of artillery, with grape-shot and canister, solid shot 
and spherical case shell raining down on us and around us, Cap- 
tain Richardson burst into a loud laugh, saying, "Is this not a hell 
of a way for a man to celebrate his birthday; it has just occurred 
to me that I am thirty-seven years old this day" 

Poor fellow ! He is now and has been for many years an in- 
mate of the lunatic asylum at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The result 
of the war, the emancipation of his slaves, the disturbed and revo- 
lutionized condition of affairs demented him. When I was Gov- 
ernor in 1895 an d visited the asylum, I tried to make the old Cap- 
tain recognize me, but could not. His mind was gone, and he 
was a pitiable object. 

Before the battle of Chickamauga "Billy" Bethune, a little red- 
haired boy from Columbus, Georgia, came to the regiment and 
requested me to muster him into the service ; but I declined upon 
the ground that he was too young and too small. He was barely 
fifteen years old, and not well grown at that. After we went over 
in the valley he came to me again and said that if I would not 
give him a gun and let him perform service as a soldier he would 
go off and join some other command. I compromised with him 
by giving him a gun and agreeing that he might go into the next 
fight, but would not put him on other duty. On the morning of 
the 28th of October he went through the engagement unhurt. 
During the next night, when the enemy routed the regiment, little 
"Billy" got shot in the back. Down near Lookout Creek one of 
the Irishmen of Company K came along with the wounded boy 


on his back. Major Lowther called out, "Who is that?" The 
answer was, "Jimmie Rutledge, sir." "Who is that you have 
there?" "Billy Bethune, sir," was the response. "Is he 
wounded?" "He is, sir," said Jimmie. "How is he wounded?" 
The reply was, "He is shot in the back, sir." That moment Billy's 
childish voice rang out in a sharp tone of indignation, "Major, 

he is a d d liar ; I am shot across the back." That boy is a 

man of family, a highly esteemed citizen, and now resides in Mil- 
ledgeville, Georgia. 

I knew the importance of holding Lookout Valley. With it in 
the enemy's possession he would have the use of both wagon- 
roads to the west of Chattanooga and also the Memphis and 
Charleston Railroad. The Tennessee River and Lookout Moun- 
tain would be untenable for the Confederates. I knew from the 
unusual movements of the enemy that they were going to attempt 
to cross the river, and consequently I sent a report in the forenoon 
and another in the afternoon of the 27th to General Jenkins, the 
division commander, to whom I was ordered (as I now recollect) 
to report, stating the indications and giving my opinion that an 
attack would be made on some part of my line and asking for re- 
enforcements. I knew that if all the other troops were on the 
east side of Lookout Mountain that they could not be brought to 
the scene of action in time after it commenced. I never heard 
until many years after the close of the war that General Law with 
the other regiments of his brigade was in camp on the west of 
Lookout Mountain. As I had heard nothing from Jenkins in re- 
sponse to my two reports, when I received the message, as here- 
inbefore stated, that Hooker's corps was crossing at Bridgeport 
south of Raccoon, my anxiety caused me, contrary to orders and 
precedent, to address General Longstreet directly, as he held com- 
mand of that wing of Bragg's army. 

P W Alexander, an army newspaper correspondent, published 
an article in some of the Georgia papers, just after the occur- 
rence, in which he undertook to place all the blame for the loss of 
the valley on me. I saw the article or heard it read; but at the 
time I was too near dead to reply to it. It was no fault of mine. 
I and my command did all that any equal number of men could 
have done to hold our position and keep Grant's men out of the 
valley. What more could 250 men have done against 2,500 than 
mine did? I was not supported, but sacrificed. 


Longstreet says that he reported to Bragg that a division of 
troops was necessary to hold that valley, which shows how out- 
rageously unjust was the charge of P W Alexander. Like many 
other correspondents of newspapers in those days, he was densely 
ignorant on the subject of which he wrote. 

The late Gen. W B. Hazen was in immediate command of the 
expedition to capture Lookout Valley. (He was the first hus- 
band of the present Mrs. Admiral Dewey ) He said in his book, 
published in 1885, that his brigade then consisted of nine regi- 
ments, with an aggregate present for duty of 2,166 men; that 
from these were selected fifty-two squads of twenty- four men and 
one officer each, aggregating a force of 1,300, as the attacking 
party. On the night of the 27th of October these men were em- 
barked at Chattanooga, twenty-five men in each boat, well armed, 
and with two axes in each squad. The intention was to reach 
Brown's Ferry, which was nine miles below Chattanooga, by the 
river, a little before daylight on the 28th. 

General Hazen says that on the 25th he rode with the chief en- 
gineer officer across the neck of land in the bend of the river, 
down to the point opposite Brown's Ferry, and there the engineer 
pointed out to him the two gaps and impressions in the mountain 
range, in each of which there was a picket post. The engineer 
informed him that the plan was to go down the river in the boats 
and land at these two points, drive our pickets away, push out 
through the gap, take position and fortify it, and that the remain- 
der of Hazen's brigade, under Colonel Langdon, of Ohio, should 
march down to the opposite shore and be ferried over as soon as 
the boats were available, and he would be followed by General 
Turchin's brigade immediately after. Each squad was placed in 
charge of a tried officer. He says : 

I selected tried and distinguished officers to lead the four distinct com- 
mands, who, in addition to being fully instructed as to the part they were to 
take, were themselves taken to the spot and every feature of the bank and 
landings made familiar to them. They, in turn, just before night called to- 
gether the leaders of the squads, and each was clearly instructed as to his 
duties ; for they were of such a nature that each had, in a great degree, to act 
independently, but strictly in accordance with instructions. * * * 

At precisely 3 o'clock A. M. the flotilla, consisting of fifty-two boats, moved 
noiselessly out. I desired to reach the landing at a little before daylight, and 
soon learned that the current would enable me to do so without using the oars. 

After moving three miles we came under the guns of the enemy's pickets, 
but keeping well under the opposite shore, were not discovered until the first 
boat was within ten feet of the landing, when the enemy's pickets fired a volley 
harmlessly over the heads of my men. The disembarkation was effected rap- 


idly and in perfect order, each party performing correctly the part assigned it 

with so little loss of time that the entire crest was occupied, my skirmish lines 
out, and the axes working, before the reenforcements of the enemy, a little 
beyond the hill, came forward to drive us back. At this time they came boldly 
up along nearly our entire front, but particularly strong along the road, and 
gained the hill to the right of it, and would have caused harm to the party on 
the road had not Colonel Langdon, who commanded the remaining portion of 
the bridge, arrived with his men at this moment. After a gallant, but short 
engagement, he drove the enemy well into the valley, and gained and occupied 
the right-hand hill also. The enemy made a stubborn fight all along the hill, 
but were easily driven away with loss. General Turchin's command now 
came over and took position on the hills to the right. My troops were all 
brought to the left of the road. * * * We found the hill facing the river 
precipitous, and the face opposite less steep, but of difficult ascent. The top is 
sharp, having a level surface of from 2 to 6 feet in width, forming a natural 
parapet capable of an easy defense. It is from 250 to 300 feet above the river. 
Beyond it is a narrow, productive valley ; and the higher parallel range of 
Raccoon Mountain is about a mile and a quarter distant. * * * The enemy 
had at this point 1,000 infantry, 3 pieces of artillery, and a squadron of cav- 
alry — an ample force, properly disposed, to have successfully disputed our 

General Hazen then states the aggregate of his losses to have 
been not exceeding 36 killed and wounded and 9 missing, and 
then proceeds to say : 

We buried six of the enemy, and a large number were known to be 
wounded, including the colonel commanding. This officer was Col. W. C. 
Oates, of an Alabama regiment, now a member of Congress. * * * We 
captured a few prisoners, their camp, twenty beeves, six pontoons and a barge; 
and several thousand bushels of corn fell into our hands. 

This statement of Hazen, which is taken from his official re- 
port, no doubt is perfectly correct until he reaches the question 
of the number of troops I had at that point, as to which he is 
grossly in error. Instead of having, as he says, 1,000 infantry, 
3 pieces of artillery, and a squadron of cavalry, I had but 6 com- 
panies of infantry, numbering no more than 225 men present for 
duty, and only 2 pieces of artillery, with barely men enough to 
handle them, and no cavalry at all, unless the two couriers I had 
with me could have been denominated "a squadron of cavalry." 
Had my force been so great as General Hazen states it to have 
been, I would most likely have made his acquaintance that morn- 
ing, instead of postponing it until after the war. I think I would 
have had him to breakfast with me and a majority of his men 
prisoners of war. In fact, my entire force at that point, includ- 
ing the artillerymen, did not exceed 240 men. With this force I, 
according to his showing, fought his entire brigade of nearly 

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An Epitome of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston's Career— His Arrival in Rich- 
mond — Mr. Davis's Opinion of Him — His Assignment to Command — The 
War in the West — The Battles of Wilson's Creek and Belmont — Surrender 
of Fort Henry — Fort Donaldson — Battle of Shiloh — Death of General 
Johnston — Beauregard's Fatal Mistake — Fall of Corinth. 

General Johnston was born February 2, 1803, in the village of 
Washington, Mason County, Kentucky. He was the youngest 
son of Dr. John Johnston, a country physician, whose ancestors 
came from Connecticut. His mother was a Miss Harris, a mild, 
intelligent, gentle lady, a native of Kentucky. Albert Sidney 
combined her gentleness and patience with the bold, blunt and 
manly qualities of his father. He was a handsome, proud, manly, 
earnest and self-reliant boy of great promise. He attended school 
and made fair progress. 

When fifteen years old he clerked in a drug store for a short 
time and showed an uncommon knowledge of physiology and 
medicine, from association, it is presumed, with his father, who 
desired him to be a physician. He had a dignified bearing, was 
popular with his acquaintances and especially with younger and 
weaker boys, whom he would protect against the stronger ones. 
He was sent to Transylvania College, where he studied hard for 
one year, and developed great aptitude for mathematics. He 
became dissatisfied and wanted to enter the navy as a midship- 
man. His father diverted him by sending him to Louisiana on 
a visit to his older half brothers, one of whom was then a prom- 
inent United States Senator. After a time they got the navy out 
of Sidney's head and induced him to return to the Lexington 
College, where he remained two years, and became familiar with 
the Latin classics and well advanced in mathematics. 

In 1822 his brother, Josiah S. Johnston, who was then a 
Representative in Congress from Louisiana, procured an appoint- 
ment for him as a cadet in the United States Military Academy 
at West Point. 


He became an enthusiast on the subject of going to West Point 
and becoming an educated soldier, but said, after some reflection, 
"A soldier should have perfect control of himself to be able to 
control others," which was in accord with his subsequent conduct 
through life. 

He had a horse and a dog of which he was very fond. He 
gave them to his sister, Mrs. Byers, because he feared that they 
would fall into other hands and be mistreated when he was away. 
He always said that it was outrageous to inflict upon a brute 
unnecessary pain. 

He was admitted to the academy in June, 1822. He was then 
a man in size, over nineteen years old, six feet two inches tall and 
weighed one hundred and eighty pounds He never grew any 
taller, but at middle age weighed something over two hundred 
pounds without any surplus flesh, and was the finest looking 
officer ever seen on horseback. He possessed fine physical strength 
and manly beauty. 

His career at West Point was marked by great firmness, 
courtesy and a noble, dignified bearing, which made him popular 
with the entire corps. He was very studious and industrious, 
was made sergeant-major and did so well that the commandant 
appointed him adjutant. He did not care so much for class - 
standing as he did for a thorough knowledge of the course. He 
graduated eighth in his class. From choice he selected a lieu- 
tenancy in the infantry, declining a staff position with General 
Scott, secured by his brother. Senator Johnston. He served eight 
years in the regular army and was in the Black Hawk and other 
Indian wars. 

On January 20, 1829, Lieutenant Johnston was married to 
Miss Henrietta Preston, of Louisville, Kentucky, a most excel- 
lent and accomplished young lady. She was above medium size, 
of a noble bearing, and attractive. There were many points of 
resemblance between husband and wife, and they were often mis- 
taken for brother and sister. 

On January 5, 1831, their oldest son, Win. Preston Johnston, 
was born. After the close of the Black Hawk war, Mrs. John- 
ston's health was greatly impaired and her children sick. He ob- 
tained a furlough and traveled with them to restore them to 
health. The children recovered, but notwithstanding medical 
skill of all the great cities, and Lieutenant Johnston's unremit- 
ting kindness and attention, on the 12th day of August, 1835, she 


died. Pending her illness, in order to be with her, he resigned 
his lieutenancy. After her death he went to his farm in Ken- 
tucky, where he remained in seclusion, deeply grief-stricken, for 
a year or more, when he decided to go to Texas. 

Doctor Davidson, an eminent physician of New Orleans, says : 

I first met Lieutenant Johnston in 1834, when prescribing for his wife. He 
impressed me at first as an austere man, but I found him the kindest 
and gentlest of friends ; a stoic, yet he had the tenderest nature, so mindful of 
others' feelings, so fearful of saying aught that might offend. 

On visiting Washington on one occasion he wrote to Wm. 
Preston, his brother-in-law : 

I had the good fortune to hear Grundy, Buchanan, Clay, Webster, and Cal- 
houn address the Senate, and observed them closely. The more I see of great 
men, the more I am convinced that they owe their eminence to a fortunaLC 
combination of circumstances, rather than to any peculiar adaptation or fitness 
for their stations. There is not that wide difference in mental endowments 
that most persons are apt to conceive ; and hence every young man of moderate 
ability may hope for the same distinction and should strive to attain it 

The struggle of Texas for her independence from Mexico was 
still going on. The battle of San Jacinto had been fought and 
her independence had been acknowledged by the United States, 
but not by Mexico. 

Johnston some time before resigning his lieutenancy resolved 
to join the army of the Republic of Texas. He went out to the 
Brazos frontier with a friend named Groce, who owned a ranch 
out there. One night while staying with him, Groce's dogs got 
into a terrible fight near his home with a large, vicious puma, or 
American lion. The animal was killing and mangling the dogs. 
Johnston had a German Yager rifle with which he shot the lion 
and broke his jaw, but did not otherwise disable him, so that he 
killed another dog. Mr. Groce was greatly agitated and cried, 
"Save my dogs ! Save my dogs if possible." 

Johnston immediately clubbed his heavy gun, ran in on the lion, 
and beat his brains out, but bent the barrel double over its head. 
He was a man of wonderful physical strength and of the highest 
courage. Groce had the skin of the lion stuffed and kept for years 
as a show. 

Although Johnston bore letters of the highest commendation 
from men of prominence to officials in Texas, he did not show 
them, and joined the Texas army as a private. Within a short 


time General Rusk, who was commanding the army, found out 
who Johnston was, and made him adjutant-general of the army. 

Rusk said that Johnston first attracted his attention by the 
graceful manner in which he sat his horse. Before General Rusk 
appointed him he told him that it would excite the envy of several 
applicants, and they might challenge him. Johnston said that 
made no difference. Soon thereafter President Burnett appointed 
him a colonel in the regular army of Texas. He at once devoted 
his time and attention to the drill, organization, and discipline of 
the army. He did this so well he was made acting Secretary of 
War during the illness of the Secretary. The Texas army con- 
sisted of two brigades. Rusk commanded one, and Gen. Felix 
Huston the other. Rusk tired of the service and resigned, leav- 
ing Huston in command. Sam Houston was then President of 
the Republic, and he appointed Col. Sidney Johnston to the va- 
cancy, making him the senior brigadier, and thus putting him over 
Gen. Felix Huston. The latter was a native Kentuckian, who 
had resided in Mississippi, and had carried a battalion of soldiers 
to Texas to aid her in the revolution. He was a politician, a 
good stump speaker, a practiced duelist, and somewhat turbulent 
and domineering in disposition. He was a large, fine-looking 
man, and had a considerable following, though he was not much 
of a general, but of high courage. There was some political 
rivalry between him and Sam Houston, who was the President, 
and he could not challenge Sam for that reason ; but the day that 
General Johnston took command of the army, Gen. Felix Huston 
challenged him peremptorily for an immediate hostile meeting, on 
the ground that his appointment had been made to degrade him 
and blast his prospects in Texas. 

General Johnston accepted at once, and although he had no 
experience with dueling pistols, he did not delay the meeting to 
practise and prepare. They met at 7 o'clock next morning. The 
ground was laid off and many officers of the army were present. 
Huston buttoned his coat closely to make his figure as small a 
mark as possible. Thereupon Johnston took off his coat and vest 
so as to make himself as conspicuous a mark as possible. Huston, 
not to be outdone in the presence of a large number of the army, 
took off his coat and vest. They took their places, the word was 
given, and the firing began. At the end of the sixth round John- 
ston fell severely wounded. Huston went to him where he lay 
on the ground and said, "General Johnston, you are the bravest 


man I ever saw. I hope that you will recover. I shall acknowl- 
edge your superior rank and serve under you." 

And so he did, but it was a long time before Johnston recov- 

About the time he got his army in good fighting trim, many 
months thereafter, and was about to meet Santa Anna's army, ex- 
pecting to win a glorious victory for Texas and crown himself 
with laurels, the Mexican army was turned back toward their 
capital on account of a political revolution there ; so that prospect 
was blighted. His health was poor ; he still suffered from the 
wound he received in the duel. He therefore tendered his resig- 
nation, which was not accepted, but a furlough was given him 
until his health was restored. 

In December, 1838, Mirabeau B. Lamar was inaugurated as 
President of Texas. He appointed General Johnston Secretary 
of War. In this office he served four years and won great dis- 
tinction. After this, when the war between the United States 
and Mexico began, Sam Houston was again President, and for 
some unknown cause was not so much a friend to General John- 
ston as formerly ; but he appointed him colonel of a six months' 
regiment. When he got that well drilled and was expecting to 
make a magnificent record in the first battle under General Taylor, 
they were allowed by a rule of the Texas war office to vote on re- 
enlisting. It was taken and a large majority voted against it and 
his regiment was mustered out of service. He was then an ac- 
complished officer without a command. General Taylor, know- 
ing his worthiness, appointed him to a staff position — inspector 
of Butler's division. In this capacity he served very acceptably 
through the battles fought by Taylor. When the war closed he 
was again a private citizen. He returned to Galveston, where 
his family was, he having previously married a second time. His 
wife did not desire him to go with the army again. He 
then, with his small family and limited means, went on a ranch 
in the wilds of the Brazos below Houston, and tried farming for 
three years, but not succeeding very well at this, he obtained the 
position of paymaster in the army, with the rank of major, and 
was assigned to the duty of paying the troops at the different sta- 
tions all through the vast frontier of Texas. He found this a 
hard job, but performed it faithfully and honestly, like every- 
thing else he undertook. He discovered two or three shortages 
in his cash, which he had to make good, and it cost him hundreds 


of dollars, which he was illy able to pay. At last he discovered 
that it was his supposed faithful negro who drove his wagon. A 
thieving white man had furnished the negro with a false key to 
the iron safe. Johnston found six hundred dollars of the stolen 
money in the negro's possession. Friends advised that he pun- 
ish the negro with many stripes, but he refused. He said that 
would not bring the money back, and be only revenge ; so he took 
the negro slave to Galveston and sold him for one thousand dol- 
lars. He continued as paymaster for several years. 

About the time Buchanan was inaugurated President Congress 
passed a law to add two new regiments of cavalry to the Regular 
Army. The second regiment had the following field officers ap- 
pointed to it : Albert Sidney Johnston, colonel ; Robert E. Lee, 
lieutenant-colonel; Hardee and Thomas, majors. This regiment 
was assigned to duty on the frontiers of Texas. It was always a 
fine regiment, and is today the finest regiment in the Army of the 
United States. E. Kirby Smith, Van Dorn, and Hood were 
among its company officers, and Fitz John Porter was its adju- 
tant. It put a stop to Indian depredations on the frontier of 

In the summer of 1857 Colonel Johnston was put in command 
of twenty-five hundred regulars and ordered to move through 
the country to Salt Lake City in Utah, and put down Brigham 
Young's rebellion. Young was building forts and had organized 
an army in defiance of the United States. Johnston marched as 
quickly as possible, but the snows and blasts of the bleak prairies 
overtook him and blockaded his forces in the Rocky Mountains, 
which became impassable until spring. He kept his force in 
hand, well provided and disciplined, and every patriot in the 
United States, when the spring opened, wanted to see Johnston 
smash Brigham Young, and all knew that he would do it. Young 
tried to bribe Johnston by sending him much-needed supplies, 
which were not accepted. Then he secretly invited Governor 
Cummins to come out and take his seat. Just before time to 
move on him the rebellious old Mormon, suspecting what was in 
store for him, disbanded his army and swore allegiance to the 
United States. Johnston had been promoted to brevet brigadier- 
general, but again the bright prospects of fighting successfully 
and winning a glorious victory had vanished. Johnston com- 
manded in Utah and preserved order throughout that section 
during 1858-59. He was then assigned to the Department of Cali- 


fornia, where he remained until the spring of 1861, when the se- 
cession of the Southern States, especially Texas, his adopted 
State, caused him to resign. He turned over the command to 
General Summer at Fort Alcatraz in the bay of San Francisco, 
April 25, 1 861. He then journeyed by private conveyance five 
hundred miles south to Los Angeles, where his brother-in-law re- 
sided, and here he and his wife remained for quite a while wait- 
ing to hear of the acceptance of his resignation, and continued to 
wait until he learned that orders had been given by the Govern- 
ment for his arrest. He was poor, not worth over fifteen hun- 
dred dollars. His wife's brother, Doctor Griffin, a man of con- 
siderable means, kept Mrs. Johnston and her three children with 
him and provided for them. 

Johnston secretly organized a company of thirty Southern sym- 
pathizers, commanded by Capt. Alonzo Ridley, who with him left 
Los Angeles, June 16, at night, and made their way through the 
sand deserts of Southern California, the alkali beds of Arizona, 
the numerous tribes of hostile Indians, and United States posts in 
that territory and New Mexico, and into northwestern Texas, 
where they arrived July 28. It was indeed a long, fatiguing, and 
perilous journey. It was a bold and daring adventure, filled with 
apprehension and probable disaster. He was in February of that 
year fifty-nine years old, but was a man of iron constitution and 
as active as when twenty years younger. 

He had been appointed by President Davis a full general, rank- 
ing Lee, and all others, except Adjutant-General Cooper, without 
his knowledge. 

He arrived in Richmond September 8, 1861, and was by Mr. 
Davis on the 10th assigned to the command of the Department 
of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, the Indian Terri- 
tory, and practically the entire West — a district too large for any 
one man to give close attention. Davis expressed a desire to have 
had him as Secretary of War, but said that his service in the field 
could not be dispensed with. Every one who knew him had a 
high opinion of his ability. All of the Union generals and offi- 
cers of the old army looked upon him as the ablest general on 
either side of the Civil War. 

When he reached Richmond, Mr. Davis was in his office in con- 
versation with some gentlemen. General Johnston without an- 
nouncement proceeded to it, and as he approached the door Mr. 


Davis said, "I know that step; it is Sidney Johnston's," and it 

President Davis thought so highly of General Johnston's abil- 
ity that he said he would have been glad to have stepped out of 
the Presidency and tu have installed Johnston in his stead had he 
the power It would have been a great blessing to the Confed- 
eracy if the change had been made. 

When he arrived at Nashville he found the situation of his de- 
partment to be in a must unsatisfactory condition. In southern 
Missouri and \rkansas Gen. Sterling Price, Generals McCul- 
lough and Hardee had small commands and were trying to in- 
crease their numbers, but were encountering the active opposition 
of -he local Unionists, measles, and camp fever — most potent ene- 
ir.ic's t i new levies of soldiers 

These generals were with their small commands trying to keep 
the Federals from overrunning the country west of the Missis- 

The war in the \\ est first took shape and was developed in Mis- 
souri. \ large majority of the people were Southern in senti- 
ment, but Democratic I nionists. States rights in politics, but in 
M\or ..f maintaining the I nion. They were, however, opposed 
to eouvion. (.en. Frank P Flair and Gen. Nathaniel Lyon were 
i he two most prominent men in the State to tie the hands of the 
people and turn them over to the control of the Federal Govern- 
ment. Tliev were both \hoIitionists. Blair, who was a politician 
and in ( . .ngress schemed, planned, and informed Lyon (who 
was a Regular \rinv man. stationed in Missouri in command 
of about i.joo regulars at Jefferson barracks, and all the volun- 
teers lie could get) how to place the Union manacles upon the 
1 »<- > >plo. 

Lyon surprised and captured the State troops at Camp Jackson, 
captured strategic points, and practised much harshness and cru- 
ehy Prompted by Blair, he was thus forging the chains of the 
Lnion upon the limbs of a free and patriotic people. Yet the for- 
getful and inconsistent Democrats, with foolish notions of policy, 
nominated and supported Blair for the Vice-Presidency in 1868! 

uid ex-Governor Sterling Price, who afterwards became fa- 
of Blair l?i lfederate general, was a Unionist until the outrages 
ot man and Lyon caused him to take the Confederate side 

Gov Claiborne F Jackson— a man of courage and abilitv- 
and a deeded majority of the legislature were Southern in senti- 


ment, but the leading men of that political faith were divided in 
opinion as to what they should do and hesitated in action until 
Blair and Lyon had fettered the State with Federal manacles. 
Just as was done in Kentucky — while old Crittenden and Guthrie 
were waiting for a peace trump to turn up, and the legislature and 
Governor Maggoffin were urging neutrality on the part of the 
State — Rosseau and the old Whig followers of Henry Clay and 
George D. Prentice were aiding the Federal Government to drive 
its poisonous fangs into that Commonwealth. And thus by di- 
vided counsels, supineness, and hesitancy to act were those two 
powerful States drawn, against the will of a majority of their 
people, into the clutches of the Union, from which they were 
never able to escape. The sentiments of their people I do not 
misquote. Both States have been represented, almost without 
exception, in the United States Senate ever since reconstruction 
by Confederate brigadiers. 

On the ioth day of August, 1861, at Wilson's Creek, near 
Springfield, was fought the first battle between Lyon's troops and 
the Confederates under Ben McCullock, Price, and Pearce. 
Lyon was killed and his army beaten, and thousands whom he 
had maltreated rejoiced at his fate. The Confederate loss in offi- 
cers was so great that the pursuit of the retreating Federals was 
not very vigorous. 

The troops of the Union, in September following, overran and 
obtained possession of three-fourths of that State, and two 
months later they likewise had Kentucky. 

This is but an outline of the condition of General Johnston's 
department at the time he took command of it. 

General Polk had seized Columbus, Kentucky, in defiance of the 
impotent neutrality declared by the State, and was fortifying it. 
Naturally it was a strong place and so situated as to prevent the 
navigation of the Mississippi River. There were small detach- 
ments of troops at the uncompleted forts of Henry and Donald- 
son on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. General Buckner, 
with a small brigade of Kentuckians, was in the neighborhood of 
Bowling Greene, and General Zollicoffer, with a brigade of Ten- 
nesseeans, was at Cumberland Gap. All of the troops in the de- 
partment east of the Mississippi River did not, at that time, 
exceed 12,000 men, and they were poorly armed, many of them 
with fowling pieces, squirrel rifles, and double-barrel shot guns. 


On the Federal side were Buell, Grant, Sherman, and Thomas, 
with much larger commands, splendidly armed and equipped, and 
which were being daily increased in numbers — all directed in 
their operations by General Halleck. 

General Johnston's first work was to deceive the enemy by 
making them believe that he had a large force and that there was 
a strong probability of his capturing Louisville, where a majority 
of the people were Southern sympathizers. The troublesome side 
of making the enemy believe that he had a large force distributed 
at the different points was that it also caused the friends of the 
Confederate cause to believe it, and with the false impression 
which the first battle of Manassas had given them, that the Con- 
federates were bound to win in every engagement, made them su- 
pine and inactive in volunteering. Johnston did all he could to 
induce volunteers, and having some success he found it impossi- 
ble to obtain arms for them. The Confederate Government em- 
barrassed him by refusing to accept any volunteer organization 
except for three years or the war. A large number were willing 
to volunteer for one year, but not for three. Those only who 
volunteered for three years were given whatever arms the Gov- 
ernment had. The circumstances were embarrassing to the Gen- 
eral when he knew that with his small force he could be driven 
out of Kentucky any day. 

On the 7th day of November, 1861, occurred the battle of Bel- 
mont. It is a village in Missouri, on the west side of the river, 
and opposite Columbus, Kentucky. Colonel Tappan, with his 
Fifteenth Arkansas Regiment and Baltzhoover's battery, was 
stationed there as an outpost. Grant, with McClernand's and 
Oglesby's brigades, came down the river on transports, landed 
above Columbus, out of range of its heavy guns, and moved 
against Belmont. General Polk reenforced Tappan with three 
regiments under General Pillow The fight was hard, but Grant 
drove Pillow to the river bank and captured the camp. Polk 
crossed the river in person with other reenforcefnents and drove 
Grant to his gunboats, which retired up the river. It was there- 
fore indecisive and might be considered a drawn battle. 

Felix K. Zollicoffer had held many State offices and was then 
a member of Congress from Tennessee, and was almost idolized 
by his people. He had seven regiments of Tennesseeans, some 
cavalry and artillery, and was holding and fortifying Cumberland 
Gap, and occasionally raiding posts of the enemy several miles 


away and rendering good service, though he had neither military 
training nor military education. He did not know how to drill 
a squad, but was brave, and acted on what he deemed common 
sense. His men were raw militia, but all patriotic and ready to 
fight, believed in Zollicoffer, and would follow him anywhere. 

George B. Crittenden, a West Pointer, who had won distinc- 
tion in the Mexican War, was appointed a major-general and as- 
signed to the command over Zollicoffer. When he arrived he 
found that the latter had crossed the river at Mill Springs, so that 
the river was in his rear, and he was fortifying to meet General 
Thomas, who was advancing on him with a large force, some 
two or three days distant. Instead of ordering Zollicoffer to re- 
cross the river and stand his ground, which General Johnston had 
previously indicated to him was the thing for him to do, Critten- 
den resolved to encourage his advance. Through mud and rain, 
without sleep and the men hungry, they pushed on to Fishing 
Creek, where they met Thomas January 19, 1862, and engaged 
him in battle. Soon by mistake Zollicoffer rode into the lines of 
the enemy and was killed. 

Crittenden did nothing to retrieve the fortunes of the day, and 
the Confederates, after the loss of their beloved leader, fled. It 
is said that Crittenden ordered a battery off the field when it had 
not fired a shot. The result was the loss of fifty per cent, of that 
army, and all the camp equipments and what rations they had of 
course. It lost the position and greatly weakened General John- 
ston's line of defense. It was said, perhaps truly, that General 
Crittenden was drunk. He never was given another important 
command during the war. His presence injured the Confed- 
erate cause. He was a brother of Gen. Thomas L. Crittenden, of 
the Union Army, and they were sons of United States Senator 

On the 6th day of February, 1862, Brigadier-General Tilgh- 
man, a West Pointer, and an alleged skilful engineer and artillery 
officer, surrendered Fort Henry to Grant, who had approached it 
with 15,000 infantry and Commodore Foote's fleet of gunboats. 
The fight continued two days. On the second day Tilghman let 
the troops understand that the fort could not hold out, and al- 
lowed them to escape — run away in disorder — a large part of 
them going in the direction of Fort Donaldson. General Tilgh- 
man remained and kept his artillerymen at the guns, with no re- 
liefs, until exhausted by fatigue. He took a hand individually in 


firing the heavy guns until the enemy came in and captured him 
and the little squad of worn-out gunners. This was a great vic- 
tory for Grant. 

Graduation at West Point does not make a good general. A 
man must have natural aptitude or adaptability, or he will not 
succeed. Graduation at West Point equips a young man and en- 
ables him to apply to advantage whatever talents he possesses, but 
without aptitude it will never make him a safe general. In illus- 
tration examine the records of Forrest, Rodes, Gordon, Cleburne, 
John H. Morgan, and Hampton. 

General Tilghman should have made the best fight he could, 
and if he saw that he could not repulse the assailants, then to have 
ordered a retreat of all of his force, except enough to hold his 
assailants in check until his main force could escape, thus preserv- 
ing their organization. He was courageous, and was killed in 
battle in 1864. 

General Grant and Commodore Foote, encouraged by their easy 
victory in capturing Fort Henry, resolved to try Fort Donaldson. 

On the 14th of February Grant with an increased force, and 
Foote with his gunboats, moved upon it. The latter had 7 boats 
and 87 heavy guns. He opened fire at a mile and a half distance 
and continued to advance until within three hundred yards, when 
the water batteries, as well as the guns of the fort, were all set to 
work with great coolness and deliberation. Foote, from the ease 
with which he silenced the guns at Fort Henry, had the utmost 
confidence, but after two hours' fighting his boats withdrew, badly 
damaged and some disabled, and he himself severely wounded. 
Grant advanced his infantry, and after a hard battle had practi- 
cally gained nothing. It snowed, rained, and stormed that night. 
The next day was freezing cold, and each held his position, and no 
fighting occurred. 

Floyd, Pillow, and Buckner were the principal Confederate 
commanders. They had received from General Johnston, at 
Bowling Green, telegraphic instruction to this effect, "Hold your 
position, but should you at any time find that you cannot hold it, 
withdraw your troops to Nashville." 

They consulted, and feeling assured that Grant was receiving 
reenforcements and would ultimately overcome them, they de- 
cided to attack him the next morning at daylight, and drive back 
that wing and hold him, thus opening the road for the army to 
march in the direction of Nashville. They accordingly made the 


attack under Pillow's immediate supervision, and after a very 
hard and bloody fight that wing of the Federals gave way, but 
still doggedly fighting. The Confederates not only opened the 
road and cleared the way by which they could have marched out 
and have escaped, but they were so elated by their success that 
they lost all disposition to escape, and came to believe that they 
could remain and win a complete victory. But subsequent fight- 
ing against fresh troops later in the day satisfied them that they 
could not long maintain their position. General Buckner said 
that they would have to surrender. General Floyd said that he 
individually would not surrender. He having been Secretary of 
War, it was believed he would as a prisoner of war be dealt with 
very harshly. He passed the command to Pillow, who was next 
in rank. He insisted that they fight and try it one more day ; but 
Buckner did not agree with him, and then he passed the command 
to Buckner, who gave notice to Floyd and Pillow that he would 
send a note to Grant, at daylight the next morning, proposing to 
surrender, and that all who undertook to escape must do so before 
that time. Floyd and Pillow and their staff officers escaped by 
boat. Forrest took out his regiment of cavalry, and several in- 
fantry soldiers rode out with him and followed Forrest on artil- 
lery horses. Some individual infantrymen waded a body of 
water waist deep and a half mile wide, though freezing cold ; and 
several hundreds, between daylight and sunrise, crossed the river 
on a steamboat which lay at the landing, and escaped. Several 
men escaped when the sun was one to two hours high in the morn- 
ing, and Brig.-Gen. Bushrod Johnson escaped about midday. 
Buckner surrendered 15,000 good men, when if he had given the 
colonels of the regiments notice and permission to get away with 
their men if they could during the night, more than one-half — at 
least 8,000, and probably 10,000 of those men — would have been 
gone from there before the terms of surrender could have been 
agreed to the next day. It was simply a sacrifice to West Point 

General Johnston put Floyd and Pillow to picking up strag- 
glers and exercising their functions as brigadiers as soon as they 
reached him, and put Floyd in command at Nashville; but ere 
long they were suspended from command by the war office in 
Richmond. In other words, Mr. Davis put them both out of 
commission, as neither ever had another command during the 
war; while Buckner, as soon as exchanged, was commended and 


promoted for his conduct at Donaldson. He surrendered fifteen 
thousand men when he could easily have reduced the number one- 
half. A proper economy of men was not maintained. A steam- 
boat arrived there between midnight and day, heavily laden with 
munitions of war and Confederate supplies, which could easily 
have been sent back up the river; but Buckner surrendered her 
with the entire cargo to Grant about midday. 

General Grant boasted that he captured rice enough off that 
boat to feed his army six months. If the boat could not have es- 
caped, why did General Buckner not have the rice and other sup- 
plies thrown overboard into the river? His conduct did not en- 
title him to promotion. He was a West Pointer, and that was a 
trump card with Mr. Davis. Buckner as a Confederate general 
never did accomplish anything worthy of note. General Ben- 
ning, of Georgia, said that Buckner was so sharp — like a razor — ■ 
that he gapped himself. 

Upon the report of Grant's successes Mr. Lincoln sent his name 
to the Senate for confirmation as a major-general of volunteers, 
and right well had he earned it. Grant at this early date had 
shown that he was a good general. He evinced that bull-dog 
tenacity of purpose which made him successful. 

With the fall of Forts Henry and Donaldson, Nashville was 
subject to be turned by the gunboats, and was no longer defensi- 
ble. The loss of these forts and the battle of Fishing Creek, 
which lost Cumberland Gap, weakened the force in Johnston's 
department at least twenty-five thousand men. He evacuated 
Bowling Green, with its splendid fortifications and strategic im- 
portance ; fell back to Nashville, and then evacuated that place to 
fall back to Murfreesboro, and finally to Decatur in north Ala- 
bama. Not only complaints were made against him, but severe 
criticisms and abuses were heaped upon him in conversations and 
in newspapers. A delegation from Tennessee went to Richmond 
and called, with their delegation in Congress, upon President 
Davis and demanded that he remove General Johnston and in his 
stead send them a general who would fight and drive the enemy 
out of their State. Mr. Davis replied that if Sidney Johnston 
was not a general, that he had none he could send ; that Johnston 
was the ablest general in the Confederacy. 

Johnston's determination and singleness of purpose were not in 
the least disturbed by the misfortunes which had befallen parts of 
his department. He said in respect to the complaints being made 


against him while at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that the test of 
merit with the people was success, and that they were right. He 
predicted then, and had before, that the great battle which would 
mark the success or failure of the Confederacy would be fought at 
or in the neighborhood of Corinth, Mississippi, because that was 
the greatest strategic point in the Southwest. From Decatur he 
went to Corinth, gathering every small command which could be 
concentrated there. He had Polk abandon Columbus and join 
him with about 12,000 men. Bragg came to him from Pensacola 
with a corps of 10,000 men. Two brigades from Louisiana, and 
L. P Walker's brigade joined him. Van Dorn was on his way 
from Missouri with 17,000 men, but Johnston decided that he 
could not wait for Van Dorn's troops to arrive. He now had 
at Corinth 40,000 effectives, pretty well armed and equipped. 

Grant had arrived at Pittsburg Landing on the Tennessee and 
established a camp extendng out two or three miles to Shiloh 
Church, and had about 50,000 men thus encamped between two 
nearly parallel creeks, about four miles apart, emptying into the 
Tennessee. Sherman's large division was encamped in the ad- 
vance. Grant was awaiting the arrival of Buell's army, about 
40,000 strong, then on the march from Nashville, intending when 
it arrived to move on Corinth, some twenty-two miles distant. 
Johnston decided to move with the force he had, fall upon Grant's 
army, and beat him before Buell could join him. Hardee com- 
manded the corps on the left, Bragg the center, Polk the right, 
and John C. Breckinridge the reserve division of three brigades. 
Beauregard was present, not well, but to go along as second in 
command. Hardee moved first, then Bragg, then Polk, and 
Breckinridge bringing up the rear. The weather was bad and 
the roads in places almost impassable. Colonel Forrest, with his 
cavalry, cautiously kept to the front and cleared the way for the 
advance. When within four or five miles of Sherman's camp, 
Johnston put his command in battle array, Saturday morning, 
April 5, 1862, intending to attack at once. Hardee and Polk 
were ready, but Bragg was not. Ruggles's division of his corps 
was not up. Johnston waited for some time and then sent to 
General Bragg to know the cause of the delay. Bragg replied 
that Ruggles had taken the wrong road, but had informed him 
that he would soon arrive. Johnston waited and waited, until his 
patience, though very great, was exhausted. He remarked. 
"This is not war, but mere child's play." He then, accompanied 


by some of his staff, rode two or three miles to the rear and found 
Ruggles's division lying by the roadside and a glut of wagons in 
the road ahead. Johnston set them moving, but when the divis- 
ion arrived at its place in the formation it was too near night to 
make the attack. Bragg should have had his corps up and well 
in hand. His neglect delayed the attack one day and may have 
lost the battle. Johnston called the corps commanders and Gen- 
eral Beauregard in consultation that night. The latter strongly 
opposed the impending battle. He said that their only chance for 
victory had been to surprise the enemy, and that the movements 
of the Confederates had been so slow that the enemy had become 
aware of their presence, and were then fortifying their position, 
and that Buell was doubtless then near at hand. To attack them 
in their fortified camps would be certain defeat, and hence he 
urged a retreat to begin at once — that night. General Johnston 
told General Beauregard that he had great respect for his opinion, 
but that a retreat would disappoint and demoralize the men worse 
than a defeat; that the men in the ranks wanted to meet the foe 
and that he did not believe that the enemy were expecting an at- 
tack in force, were not prepared for it, and notwithstanding the 
sloth and retardation it would be a surprise. He concluded by 
saying, "Gentlemen, we will attack the enemy at daylight in the 
morning. Have your commands ready to move at that hour." 

He told General Polk a little later that he would fight them if 
they were a million. He said that it was but three or four miles 
from one of those creeks to the other; that they were not then 
fordable, and the Tennessee on the other side; that his army 
would make three lines of battle from creek to creek, and that 
many lines could not be broken ; and if a greater number were in 
his front, they would be in each other's way, and the mortality 
among them would be all the greater. 

At daylight the column moved, and soon Hardee's troops 
opened the action on Sherman's large division of four brigades. 
The fighting was furious, although the Federals were taken by 
surprise. Johnston was present on the field all the time and his 
presence inspired his men. The Confederates drove the Federals 
from their breakfast, captured their camps, charged and took 
their batteries, until between 12 and 1 o'clock, when nearly all 
their commands were broken up. One division commander, Gen- 
eral Prentice, and nearly all of his division had surrendered; some 
3,000 prisoners had been taken, a half dozen batteries of artillery 


and thousands of small arms had been captured. There were es- 
timated about 20,000 men, a mere disorganized and demoralized 
mob, hiding under the river bank, and there were but two points 
on the field which still held out against the Confederates. One 
was a battery of twenty guns, the fire of which was directed by 
one of Grant's staff officers, and the other with fewer guns, but a 
small body of infantry, in a strong position called the "Hornet's 

Johnston ordered Zollicoffer's old brigade of six Tennessee 
regiments to charge that place. One regiment refused to go, 
when Isham G. Harris, then Governor of Tennessee, being pres- 
ent, drew his pistol and led the regiment in the charge. It was 
repulsed. General Johnston then ordered the entire brigade to 
charge, and he led it on his gray horse. The charge was success- 
ful, but the general was shot in the leg. Governor Harris rode 
up to him and asked if he were much hurt, and the General replied, 
"It may be serious ; I am bleeding freely." There was no surgeon 
present. Governor Harris saw him reel in his saddle and caught 
him to keep him from falling. The Governor sprang to the 
ground and helped him down, gave him a swallow of whiskey 
from his canteen, and sent for a surgeon ; but in fifteen minutes, 
before the surgeon arrived, the great Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston 
had breathed his last ; that great heart had ceased to beat, and the 
great government baptized by him into the family of nations an 
hour before was by that blow doomed to everlasting sleep. He 
had by his untiring energy and foresight won this great battle ; 
and then without a struggle, or a single pain, fell into the arms of 
glory— like General Wolfe on the heights of Abraham when told 
that the enemy were flying, exclaimed, "Now, thank God, I die 
satisfied !" 

He was sixty years old, but a tireless worker, gave close atten - 
tion to details, neglected nothing, and had an eye to everything. 
At every point where the enemy had an equal number he would 
bring reenforcements until he concentrated a greater number, then 
storm and take it. He attended to all the details and never 
seemed tired nor lacking in confidence. He satisfied himself of 
what was right and best to be done, and then did it. He was al- 
ways respectful, and would hear the opinions of others, and then 
follow his own. In manner he was dignified, polite, and kind to 
all. The humblest private in his army could approach him and 
have a respectful hearing. He did not possess any oratorical 


gifts, spoke slowly and thoughtfully, and endeavored to use the 
words adapted to convey his precise meaning. His personal ap- 
pearance and general deportment were such that whoever beheld 
him at once recognized him as a general of superb ability, and 
yielded a ready obedience, not only to his commands, but to what- 
ever were supposed to be his wishes. His army not only admired, 
but idolized him. By his simplicity, earnestness, and justice to 
all he impressed them with his greatness. He inspired such a 
high degree of respect and confidence that the soldiers obeyed him 
with alacrity. A wonderful man who had a most singular career ! 

General Johnston possessed more ability, more experience, and 
more creative and regulative ability than any general on either 
side in that war. But he seemed to have been born under an 
evil star. 

Cassius said : 

Brutus, it is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings. 

It was in Johnston's star, not in himself, that his life was a fail- 
ure. He never accomplished any signal success while serving as 
a lieutenant in the United States Army, though he was a good offi- 
cer. When in command of the Texas army, after putting it in 
splendid condition to meet the Mexican army then approaching, a 
revolution at their capital caused them to retreat, and his oppor- 
tunity was gone. When he was made the colonel of a six months' 
regiment of Texas volunteers and had put it in fine trim and 
hoped to have an opportunity to win distinction under General 
Taylor, in Mexico, the period of enlistment expired and the men 
of his regiment refused to reenlist, and he again lost his oppor- 
tunity. When he was put in command of the expedition against 
Brigham Young, the latter, though fortified and prepared to re- 
sist, finding that Johnston would whip him ( and every one de- 
sired that he should get a chance at Brigham), on his approach 
disbanded his army and proclaimed his loyalty to the United 
States, and again Johnston lost his opportunity. When by his 
superb energy, equanimity, and personal attention to details he 
had led the brigades to assaults, one after another, and had almost 
won the greatest victory in modern warfare, by a force one-fifth 
less than that of his adversary, his light was put out, his soul took 
its flight to the eternal home of good and great soldiers. 

It was the opinion of many of the generals and statesmen of 
that time that if General Johnston had survived that battle he 


would at once have returned to Tennessee and Kentucky, and the 
volunteers who would have flocked to his standard would have 
won the independence of the Confederacy; but the opportunity 
was lost when Albert Sidney Johnston, perhaps the greatest gen- 
eral the war would have developed, fell. If not then, it was 
surely lost a few hours later, when Beauregard lost his balance 
and ordered the army to await the arrival of Buell. General 
Beauregard was patriotic, but too impulsive and of too limited 
capacity for an army commander. He would have made a fine 
corps commander, and should never have ranked any higher. But 
had he not made Shiloh his Waterloo — had Johnston survived to 
reap the fruits of his great victory — I doubt that the Confederacy 
would ever have succeeded in the establishment of its independ- 
ence. The South had no money, no credit, no commerce, no fac- 
tories, no arms or munitions of war, and not enough men; and 
with mismanagement upon the part of the President and Con- 
gress, the cause seemed hopeless. But never in the world's his- 
tory did a people, under such disadvantages, fight so long, per- 
sistently, and heroically as did the Confederates. 

Gen. Gustavus Toutant Beauregard was a Louisiana French- 
man, was a graduate of West Point, and served in the engineer 
corps through the war with Mexico and for some years after, and 
had a good record. As soon as the Confederate Government was 
organized in Montgomery, Alabama, President Davis appointed 
him a brigadier-general and assigned him to duty in Charleston. 
He was the general who ordered the fire on Fort Sumter; of 
course he was instructed by Mr. Davis to do so. He was in com- 
mand of the troops who fought McDowell at the first battle of 
Manassas. Mr. Davis immediately after that battle, very un- 
wisely and prematurely, made him one of the five full generals. 
He was second in command at Shiloh. He was in poor health, 
though he did not decline to serve, and assumed command of the 
army as soon as informed of Johnston's death. He said, "Let the 
battle proceed according to Johnston's plan." 

He remained back at Shiloh Church. Bragg took the lead in 
the reorganization and reforming the line, in which he consumed 
more time than he should. But an advance of the three corps 
was arranged and set in motion when there was still more than 
one hour of daylight. The Federal commands were broken and 
demoralized and the Confederates felt confident of completing the 
great victory before dark. The gunboats were throwing shells 


at a furious rate, but they landed out about the church and were 
passing high above the Confederate troops. 

General Beauregard, suddenly and without any consultation 
with the corps commanders, arrested their advance by an order 
sent by his staff officers and delivered to brigade and regimental 
commanders, as well as division and corps commanders, to stop 
the advance, retire a short distance, and rest for the night. Dur- 
ing the various engagements of the day commands had become 
very much mixed and confused. Had the order been given only 
to the corps and division commanders they might, even after dark, 
have gotten most of the regiments and brigades and divisions to- 
gether; but the way the withdrawal order was given there was 
the utmost confusion and no opportunity to get the troops of the 
different commands together to meet fresh Union troops early the 
next morning. It did not seem to have been thought of by Beau- 

General Chalmers, who was with his brigade and well to the 
front in the battle, said of the situation when General Johnston 
was killed : 

One more resolute movement forward would have captured Grant and his 
whole army, and fulfilled to the letter the battle-plan of the great Confederate 
general who died in the belief that victory was ours and that his own reputa- 
tion was fully redeemed. 

General Buell says of Sherman's sketch of the situation : 

Sherman's sketch is also an interesting one as showing the position from 
which they were driven and the dwindled front to which they were reduced. 
It will help to show, in connection with other circumstantial evidence, that of 
the army of not less than 50,000 effective men which Grant had on the west 
bank of the Tennessee River, not more than 5,000 were in ranks and available 
on the battle-field at nightfall on the 6th, exclusive of Lew Wallace's division, 
say 8,500 men, that only came up during the night. The rest were either killed, 
wounded, captured, or scattered in inextricable and hopeless confusion for 
miles along the banks of the river. 

As an evidence of the condition of the Confederate army after 
nightfall of the first day's battle, I again quote from General 
Chalmers as follows : 

When night put a stop to my efforts to take the last hill above Pittsburg 
Landing, I fell back, and found to my great surprise that our whole army had 
fallen back. I bivouacked my men in line on the ground where Prentice sur- 
rendered, and about midnight was awakened by Colonel (afterwards General) 
Forrest, who was searching for his son (Willie Forrest), a boy of fifteen, who 


with two other comrades of the same age, happening to get detached, made their 
way to the river, near which they came upon fifteen or twenty Federal soldiers. 
Firing upon the group with their shotguns, these boys then charged, captured, 
and led away some fifteen prisoners, whom they delivered to the provost mar- 
shal, and whom his father supposed to have been killed. 

He asked me first for the headquarters of General Beauregard, then of 
Bragg, Polk, and Hardee ; and I told him I did not know where any of them 
were. He asked then where my command was ; and I answered, "Sleeping in 
line before me with their guns by their sides." He replied, "You are the first 
general I have found tonight who knows where his men are, and if the enemy 
attack us in the morning they will whip us like hell !" He said, "I will put out 
a picket in front of your line." And he did, which gave me timely notice, 
before day, that the enemy was preparing to advance. 

The foregoing testimonials from eye-witnesses sufficiently at- 
test the success of his battle up to General Johnston's death, and 
then, notwithstanding the long lapse of time consumed in rear- 
ranging the troops under General Bragg's immediate supervision, 
complete success was within the grasp of the Confederates, with 
a strong probability of completely destroying, or capturing, the 
remainder of Grant's army, and possibly its commander and Gen- 
eral Sherman as well. When General Beauregard's order to re- 
tire was issued there was still one hour of daylight. Instead of 
improving that hour, he ordered the troops to desist from further 
pursuit, to drop back into the captured camps and rest for the 
night. Why on earth did he, without knowing the conditions at 
the front, give such an order ? When you have your antagonist 
in a fight down and beaten blind, finish him — put him to sleep, as 
the pugilists say. Any slugger should have sense enough to know 
that. Grant's army of 50,000 men was whipped, demoralized, dis- 
organized, and the fugitives trying to escape; and Grant, with 
20,000 or less of them, crouched under the bank of the river and 
he trying to rally and reanimate them. 

Grant was like Wellington at Waterloo when seven of the thir- 
teen great squares of English infantry were broken, his disorgan- 
ized troops fleeing through the forest of Soignes, and Napoleon 
had sent a message to Paris that the battle was won. Wellington 
looked at his watch and exclaimed, "O that Blucher or night, one, 
would come!" 

Grant's prayer was for Buell or night. He was holding on dog- 
gedly, with a disorganized and frightened mass of men, when 
Beauregard, not God, answered his prayer. And the manner in 
which that order was promulgated — as though written in red let- 
ters at the head, "Defeat!" as plainly as the rainbow ever appeared 
in the sky — read to every petty officer as the staff found them on 


the field, "Fall back among the captured camps, rest for the night, 
and make your men comfortable." 

Neither Bragg, Hardee, Polk, Breckinridge, nor any of the 
other able commanders could retain control of their commands 
when thus ordered. They were practically ignored and confusion 
reigned supreme. The whole army was in inextricable confusion, 
like a deck of cards which has been shuffled by a gambler to pre- 
vent stacking. The soldiers, hungry and tired, but triumphant, 
revelled in the captured luxuries of the camps. A.11 was confu- 
sion. The brigades of divisions, the regiments of brigades, not 
together, but scattered, no one knew where. Colonel Forrest, un- 
trained, but natural soldier that he was, while looking for his son 
at midnight foresaw what was coming with the dawn of day, and 
come it did. The divisions of Lew Wallace, T L. Crittenden, 
and Nelson of Buell's army arrived during the night, formed line 
of battle a mile and a half long, and with 20,000 of Grant's bro- 
ken army rallied during the night and now in support, hurled back 
toward Shiloh Church the brigades of Chalmers, Jackson, Glad- 
den, and Cleburne through the unorganized masses of Confed- 
erates. Many mixed and broken commands fought hard without 
knowing their officers, charged at many points, and drove back 
the Federals ; but these fresh troops coming on the field that morn- 
ing, thoroughly organized and perfectly aligned, against broken, 
mixed, and confused troops, as were the Confederates — however 
brave, they could not successfully resist them. The Confederates 
were not panicky ; the battle was not lost by the disposition of the 
Confederates to plunder the captured camps, as some people have 
charged; men never fought better. They had become veterans 
with but one day's experience in battle, and when on the second 
day Chalmers and Joe Wheeler each took and carried the Confed- 
erate flag in a charge, the men gave the rebel yell and drove their 
assailants back three hundred yards. Pat Cleburne's fine brigade, 
3,000 strong the morning before, now reduced to but 800 men, 
withstood the storm of shot and shell until their line was almost 
destroyed. There was no panic, but they were beaten back, giving 
blow for blow, and ultimately driven from the field Monday even- 
ing, April 7. They then made an orderly retreat to Corinth, 

Col. Wm. Preston Johnston, in the concluding part of his 
father's biography (p. 660), remarks: 


Not often is there an Elisha to catch up the mantle of the translated Elijah. 
When a man dies, others take up his work to mend or mar it, and he is soon 
forgotten. A puff of wind, or a little pewter extinguisher, puts out the light 
that shines over many a league of land and sea. No man has any tenure of 
the things of this world in the grave. Then come others in his place, and all 
his plans, his methods, and his informing spirit are changed. 

Soon after the army reached Corinth under Beauregard it was 
reenforced by General Van Dorn with 17,000 men, who had 
fought at Wilson's Creek and Elkhorn — a splendid body of men 
from Missouri and Arkansas. This made the army about 50,000 
men present for duty. Reenforcements poured in from every 
quarter until the muster rolls showed an aggregate of something 
more than 1 12,000, but more than one-half were absent sick. The 
retreat from Shiloh with its dispiriting effect and hardships caused 
much of it. General Halleck, with a strong force, appeared at 
Farmington, and at once began an advance, spade in hand, and 
making gradual approaches. To meet him Beauregard went to 
digging also. Twice he tried to get Halleck to come out of his 
trenches and fight in the open, but he declined. The Confederate 
digging, together with poor food, drainage of swamps, no good 
water, rotten limestone soil, lack of good police regulations, the 
hot weather coming on, loss of morale by the retreat from Shiloh, 
all contributed to the prevalence of typhoid fever and obstinate 
cases of diarrhea, and reduced the army for duty to less than fifty 
per cent.* 

Halleck kept up his gradual approaches with a larger force 
present than Beauregard had. He finally seized the railroad 
southeast of Corinth, and thus cut Beauregard's communication 
with the seaboard, and the latter could no longer hold this stra- 
tegic point, and on May 30 retreated to Tupelo, Mississippi, on the 
Mobile & Ohio Railroad. The retreat was well executed and with- 
out any material loss, but it lost to the Confederacy the city of 
Memphis and the rich Mississippi Valley, and lost the campaign 
which General Johnston had so auspiciously begun. In war, 
when a strategic point is lost its consequences are usually far- 
reaching, and cannot always be foreseen. 

Beauregard's health was poor and he saw that he was rapidly 
losing territory, and abandoned the army, leaving Bragg in corn- 

et seemed strange, but was a fact that Northern soldiers had less sickness 
in the South during the war than the native soldiers. Why was it? 


mand. He should not have gone to Shiloh as second in com- 
mand. A sick general is not fit to command an army in the field. 

He and his army remained at Tupelo several days, and on June 
14 he obtained the certificate of two surgeons that he was phy- 
sically unable to command and advising his retirement. He 
turned over the command of the army to Bragg, and went to Bla- 
don Springs for his health, without going through with the for- 
mality of consulting the President or asking leave of the War 

Beauregard was a most excellent and skilful engineer officer. 
He made the defenses of Charleston Harbor well-nigh impreg- 
nable. They withstood the most formidable and vigorous assaults 
of the Federal forces and never yielded until Sherman's army 
came in on their rear from the land side. President Davis should 
have assigned Beauregard instead of Mansfield Lovell to the com- 
mand of New Orleans and its coast defenses. Generals M. L. 
Smith, J. K. Duncan, and Higgins, Lovell's subordinates, did as 
well as they could with the means they had. Other available 
forces were not employed and this most important commercial 
port of the Confederacy fell an easy prey. Beauregard, in com- 
mand of his home city, would have made a more stubborn defense. 



Bragg's First Assignment at Pensacola, Florida — In Command of the Army of 
Tennessee — His Retreat Southward After Allowing Buell to Escape — 
Rosecrans's Advance Against Bragg — Battle of Murfreesboro — Missionary 
Ridge — Various Opinions of Bragg. 

Gen. Braxton Bragg was a graduate of West Point and won 
considerable distinction in the war with Mexico, in which he got 
to be a captain of artillery. It was at Buena Vista where Gen. 
Zachariah Taylor told him to "Give them a little more grape shot, 
Captain Bragg." This immortalized him and made the Southern 
people jump to the conclusion that he was a great general. Such 
evidence as was afforded by fighting Mexicans successfully was 
not sufficient to show any man to be a capable general on a large 
scale. Bragg was assigned to command at Pensacola, Fla., at 
the beginning of the war and held it until the soldiers of the Union 
had abandoned all efforts to advance into the interior from that 
point. Then he was withdrawn and with his corps of troops went 
to Corinth, where he joined Gen. A. S. Johnston and participated 
in the battle of Shiloh. He was a strict disciplinarian and used 
force and harsh measures to secure it, in strong contrast to General 
Johnston, who believed in controlling his army more through 
respect and affection than by force and fear. 

Soon after Bragg's assignment to command of the Army of 
Tennessee President Davis made him a full general and assigned 
him to the permanent command of that army. Very soon there- 
after from Tupelo he marched east and occupied Chattanooga, 
Tenn. At this time Gen. E. Kirby Smith held Knoxville with his 
division and in August he moved on Kentucky through Big Creek 
Gap, twenty miles south of Cumberland Gap. After having some 
skirmishes on August 30 at Richmond, he came on a force pre- 
pared to check his progress, which he soon whipped and dispersed 
with about one hundred killed and wounded and between two and 
three thousand taken prisoners, with some artillery, small arms and 


wagons captured. He marched to Lexington and Frankfort and 
then moved in the direction of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the excite- 
ment was intense. He was in the advance of Bragg's army and 
had to withdraw or change direction and join his chief in obedi- 
ence to orders. 

General Bragg, with the main force, marched from Chattanooga 
on September 5. He passed to the east and in the rear of General 
Buell's army and forced him to retreat from north Alabama, 
southern and middle Tennessee, along the L. & N. road to Louis- 
ville. Bragg in his march bore somewhat to the east and parallel 
to Buell so as to form a junction with Smith's division when 
necessary On September 18 Bragg issued an address to the 
people of Kentucky to join the Confederates, but only a few of 
them joined as soldiers. He obtained an immense amount of 
supplies, which he continued to send a safe distance into the rear 
until he had to retreat from the State. 

The Union forces having been strengthened after he had allowed 
Buell to escape without a battle, Bragg began a regular retreat 
southward with Major-General Hardee's corps in the rear. The 
Union forces were then commanded by Major-General John Pope. 
At Perryville that model corps turned back on Pope's main body 
and a regular battle ensued. The chief battle was made by the 
corps of Generals Polk and Hardee on the morning of October 8, 
1862. The two armies were formed on opposite sides of the town 
of Perryville and at 12.30 P M. the action began and continued 
until dark. The tide of battle fluctuated until near night, when 
the Unionists gave way and the Confederates drove them about 
two miles. Night closed the battle. The Confederates captured 
400 prisoners. The killed and wounded of the Union troops were 
about 4,000. One brigadier-general was killed and two wounded 
and the Confederates captured 15 pieces of artillery. Their 
losses aggregated about 2,500 killed, wounded and missing. 

During the night Bragg learned that Pope received reenforce- 
ments and the next morning withdrew from the field and resumed 
his retreat. General Smith's division was not present in this 
battle, but joined Bragg the next day at Bryantsville. Bragg 
retreated leisurely with Pope following him at a respectful dis- 
tance in the rear. Bragg took a position and made a determined 
stand at Murfreesboro, Tenn., and the Union forces concentrated 
at Nashville. General Buell had been superseded by Major-Gen. 
W S. Rosecrans, who also ranked Pope. 


On the 30th of November Gen. John H. Morgan, with 1,300 
men, captured a brigade of 2,100 Union men. 

On the 26th of December Rosecrans began his advance against 
Bragg. His march was impeded by the Confederate cavalry, and 
Gen. Joe Wheeler, with his cavalry brigade, gained Rosecrans's 
rear, destroyed hundreds of army wagons laden with supplies and 
then rode around his army from right to left, doing damage and 
annoying Rosecrans. His army was 60,000 strong ; Bragg's only 
35,000. The latter formed line of battle two miles from Mur- 
freesboro transversely across Stone River from the Lebanon Pike 
to the Franklin road on the left. Rosecrans came up in front on 
December 30, but did not make any attack. Bragg attacked him 
the next morning at daylight, took him by surprise and drove his 
right and bent it back at right angles with the entire line, but there 
it was steadied by his reserves, but Rosecrans's extreme left on 
Stone River still held and was well sustained in position by a con- 
centration of artillery. The next morning, January 1, 1863, the 
battle opened at 8 o'clock A. M.. but did not last very long. 
Bragg's men drove back a short distance that stubborn left, but 
at a frightful sacrifice of life. Breckinridge's division, which 
was not supported, lost heavily The Confederates had been in 
line of battle five days and nights and with but little rest, as there 
were no reserves to give relief. The rain and snow alternated, 
was continuous, and the cold severe. These considerations and 
Bragg's usual apprehension that heavy reenforcements were com- 
ing to Rosecrans, determined him to retreat, which he did in fairly 
good order on the morning of the 3d and halted at Tullahoma. 
His army captured over 6,000 prisoners, an equal quantity of 
small arms, 30 pieces of artillery, a large number of horses, mules, 
ambulances and other property in the fighting around and about 
Murfreesboro. The Confederate losses were about 10,000 officers 
and men and the Union army lost over 20,000, or double the 
number lost by the Confederates. Of course this means killed, 
wounded and missing, which are embraced in the usual term, 

Rosecrans went into winter quarters at Murfreesboro and Bragg 
at Tullahoma, and those armies were inactive for the remainder of 
the winter. 

March 5, 1863, an expedition under Colonel Colburn, of 1,300 
men, was captured by Van Dorn and Forrest at Spring Hill, ten 
miles south of Franklin, Tenn. 


Early in June, Rosecrans began to move against Bragg and the 
latter retreated to Chattanooga. General Buckner at this time 
was at Knoxville in command of East Tennessee. Gen. Sam 
Jones commanded the district of southwest Virginia. Cumber- 
land Gap is between the two points and really the gateway into 
Kentucky and the only accessible route for an army anywhere for 
many miles. It is narrow and has precipitous sides so that it is 
easily defended by a small force against a large one. On the 
20th of August Brig.-Gen. J. W Frazer, a West Pointer, and 
supposed to be trustworthy and capable, was assigned to its com- 
mand. He had 1,700 artillery and infantry and 600 cavalry. 
General Buckner, before Burnside's advance with a greatly 
superior force, evacuated Knoxville and fell back southward to 
Loudon, which exposed Cumberland Gap to attack, and when 
Burnside advanced on it Frazer surrendered his entire force 
without firing a sh&t. The writer thinks that he remained North 
and never returned to the South. Such was the current news, and 
it was the proper place for him. 

Rosecrans's army crossed the mountain and the river at Steven- 
son and Bridgeport, Ala. In the latter part of August, Rosecrans, 
with his army of about 65,000 men, moved to the south of Look- 
out Mountain in the direction of Dalton, Ga. 

The situation of Bragg's army at Chattanooga was — Rosecrans 
to the south of him and moving toward his rear ; Burnside to the 
north, which made it too hazardous to pass around Lookout 
Mountain on the west to strike Rosecrans in his rear, if Bragg's 
army had been numerically strong enough. Consequently he 
abandoned Chattanooga, drew Buckner, with his 5,000 men, from 
Loudon, and fell back to Chickamauga Creek and Ringgold, Ga. 
At this time Longstreet was ordered from Virginia with two 
divisions of his corps to reenforce Bragg and at the same time 
other troops were ordered from Mississippi for the same purpose. 
In another chapter we have described the battle of Chickamauga 
on the 19th and 20th days of September and Bragg's inactivity 
and failure to pursue Rosecrans's defeated army. Gen. A. P 
Stewart's account of it is given and what followed until Long- 
street was sent from Chattanooga against Burnside at Knoxville. 

After Longstreet had been sent against Burnside, Bragg drew 
his army back from Lookout and all through the valley southeast 
of Chattanooga, and concentrated or formed his troops in line of 
battle along the crest of Missionary Ridge facing Chattanooga 


and the west, entrenched and dug rifle pits along the foot of 
the Ridge. Grant drew Sherman to him from the west with three 
or four divisions. Sherman crossed the Tennessee on Grant's 
left above Chattanooga at or near the mouth of Chickamauga 
Creek. He partially turned Bragg's right flank and then attacked 
him in his trenches November 25th. A hard fight ensued. At 
the same time Hooker drove the small force left on Lookout 
Mountain and marched his two corps across to Rossville Gap on 
Bragg's left and attacked that flank. Sherman's vigorous and 
persistent assaults on Bragg's right caused him to reenforce it 
with troops from his center and thus weaken it. When he had 
reenforced until the men had not sufficient room in the trenches, 
Grant ordered General Thomas, with over 40,000 men, to move 
up the steep ridge, taking Orchard Knob as a point to concentrate 
artillery, and then to assault the center. It was successful and 
broke Bragg's army in two — his retreat was disorderly and disas- 
trous. He lost heavily in artillery, prisoners, dead and wounded. 
Bragg was terribly outgeneraled and badly beaten. He halted 
his demoralized army at Dalton, Ga., where he gave up the com- 
mand to Lieutenant-General Hardee and went to Richmond as 
chief of staff to the President. He was toward the close of the 
war in command at Wilmington, N. C, and commanded in some 
of the last fighting there. 

Various opinions were entertained and expressed about General 
Bragg as a military man. Some esteemed him as a great general, 
while many others rated him as of much less capacity than Lee, 
the Johnstons and Jackson. 

Col. J. Stoddard Johnston, who was on his staff and a friend 
of Bragg's, said of him after the war : 

He was not a soldier of the first rank like Lee, lacking some of those essen- 
tial grander elements which give success to a commander in the field ; but he 
possessed qualifications such as, rightly directed, would have made him as 
great in the Confederate Army as Moltke in the Prussian. Sidney Johns- 
ton weighed him aright when he assigned him a position, hitherto unknown in 
American warfare, but essential to the proper organization of a great army, 
and so recognized by the European powers. [Chief of Staff.] As a com- 
mander in the field Bragg was too much engrossed with the details of moving, 
disciplining, organizing, and feeding his men to master the broader and more 
comprehensive duties of a great captain in time of battle. His plans of battles, 
and orders promulgated, as at Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, will be found 
to evince more ability, and to comprehend remarkable accuracy of detail as 
well as clearness and precision. 

In both the engagements named, he attacked boldly on the flank; at the 
former on the left, and the latter on the right; but, in the supreme moment, 


when Lee or Jackson would have made his victory complete, he failed in the 
power to modify his original plan, and lost from his tendency to adhere in- 
flexibly to his predetermined line of action. 

Col. William Preston Johnston, who wrote the life of his father, 
Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, among other things wrote of Bragg 
(p. 547 of his book) as follows : 

While Bragg was an able man, he was too rigid and narrow to be a great 
one. He was very harsh and intolerant where he once imbibed a prejudice, 
and he was not slow, nor always just, in assuming his conclusions. He was 
always a partisan, and merciless toward those who resisted him, even when his 
acts were clearly arbitrary. He did not inspire love or revenge, but he com- 
manded respect and fear. He trusted too much to those who agreed with him, 
and was apt to undervalue those who held aloof from or offended him. But 
if this rugged outline seems too much the likeness of a military despot, it 
should be added that his purposes were great, pure, and unselfish, and his as- 
pirations high. 

Gen. Richard Taylor, in his book, "Destruction and Reconstruc- 
tion" (pp. ioo, 101 ), says of Bragg: 

Possessing experience in and talent for war, he was the most laborious of 
commanders, devoting every moment to the discharge of his duties. As a dis- 
ciplinarian he far surpassed any of the senior Confederate generals; but his 
method and manner were harsh, and he could have won the affection of his 
troops only by leading them to victory. He furnished a striking illustration 
of the necessity of a healthy body for a sound intellect. Many years of dyspep- 
sia had made his temper sour and petulant ; and he was intolerant to a degree 
of neglect of duty, or what he esteemed to be such, by his officers. A striking 
instance of this occurred during my visit. At dinner, surrounded by his nu- 
merous staff, I inquired for one of his division commanders, a man widely 

known and respected, and received this answer, "General is an old 

woman, utterly worthless." Such declaration, privately made, would have 
been serious ; but publicly, and certain to be repeated, it was astonishing. 

As soon as we had withdrawn to his private room I asked by whom he in- 
tended to relieve General — ? "Oh! by no one. I have but one or two 

fitted for high command, and have in vain asked the War Department for 
capable people." To my suggestion that he could hardly expect hearty co- 
operation from officers of whom he permitted himself to speak contempt- 
uously, he replied, "I speak the truth. The Government is to blame for placing 
such men in high position." From that hour I had misgivings as to General 
Bragg's success, and felt no regret at the refusal of the authorities to assign 
me to duty with him. It may be said of his subordinate commanders that they 
supported him wonderfully, in spite of his temper, though that ultimately pro- 
duced dissatisfaction and wrangling. Feeble health, too, unfitted him to sus- 
tain long-continued pressure of responsibility, and he failed in the execution of 
his own plans. 

The movement into Kentucky was made by two lines. Gen. Kirby Smith 
led a subordinate force from Knoxville, East Tennessee, through Cumberland 
Gap, and, defeating the Federals in a spirited action at Richmond, Kentucky, 
reached Lexington, in the center of the State, and threatened Cincinnati. 
Bragg moved on a line west of the Cumberland range toward Louisville, on 


the Ohio River; and this movement forced the Federal commander, Buell, to 
march north to the same point by a parallel road, farther west. Buell left gar- 
risons at Nashville and other important places, and sought to preserve his 
communications with Louisville, his base. Weakened by detachments, as well 
as by the necessity of a retrograde movement, Bragg should have brought him 
to action before he reached Louisville. Defeated, the Federals would have 
been driven north of the Ohio to reorganize, and Bragg could have wintered 
his army in the fertile and powerful State of Kentucky, isolating the garrisons 
in the rear; or, if this was impossible, which does not appear, he should have 
concentrated against Buell when the latter, heavily reenforced, marched south 
from Louisville to regain Nashville. But he fought a severe action at Perry- 
ville with a fraction of his army, and retired to central Tennessee. The 
ensuing winter, at Murfreesboro, he contested the field with Rosecrans, Buell's 
successor, for three days ; and though he won a victory, it was not complete, 
and the summer of 1863 found him again at Chattanooga. 


Such were the opinions entertained of Bragg by his friends who 
knew him well. 




A Great Thing for the Confederacy and the Reputation of Jackson — Wounded 
at Seven Pines — Assigned to Command of a Department — Reasons for 
Not Going to Relief of Vicksburg — Ordered to Command of Army of 
Tennessee — His Plan to Strengthen the Army — The Policy of Acting on 
the Defensive — Face to Face With Sherman Before Atlanta — Relieved 
From Command in Favor of Hood — The Reason Therefor. 

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was born in the year 1808 and grad- 
uated from West Point Military Academy in 1829. He fought 
in the Indian wars, was twice wounded, and in the war with 
Mexico was twice wounded. It has in a previous chapter been 
stated that early in 1861 he was assigned to the command of 
Harper's Ferry and the Valley of Virginia, which he held until 
ordered to Manassas Junction to the support of General Beaure- 
gard in the battle of July 21. The timely arrival of four brigades 
of his army enabled Beauregard to defeat McDowell and send him 
back to Washington. 

While in command of the Valley, the Secretary of War inter- 
fered with Gen. Thomas J. Jackson's arrangement of troops by 
ordering General Loring's brigade from Romney, where Jackson 
had placed it, down to Winchester or Strasburg, and Jackson, who 
had not then won the name of "Stonewall," was indignant at such 
direct interference, forwarded his resignation and requested to be 
reinstated in his former position as professor in the State Military 
Academy. General Johnston, as commander of the department, 
would not forward it, but held it until he could persuade Jackson 
to withdraw it. Therein he did a great thing for the Confederacy 
and the reputation of Jackson. 

General Johnston, as commander of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines May 31, 1862. 
He sufficiently recovered and reported to the War Department for 
duty on the 24th day of the next November. Thereupon he was 
assigned to the command of the department composed of Tennes- 


see, Mississippi and the Trans-Mississippi, and an army in each 
commanded respectively in the order named by Generals Bragg, 
Pemberton and E. Kirby Smith. 

With Johnston's acknowledgment of receipt of the order assign- 
ing him to the command of all the Confederate armies in this vast 
territory, he wrote the War Department that the Federals had in 
the aggregate a great many more troops in these districts than 
did the Confederates, and suggested that the army of Lieutenant- 
General Holmes, about 50,000 strong, be transferred from 
Arkansas to Mississippi and united with Pemberton's army, the 
two to fall on Grant's army, about 46,000 men, and crush him, 
which could have been done with these united forces, about 75,000 
strong; that this would enable Pemberton to hold the Mississippi 
and Holmes to invade Missouri with fair prospects of success. 
General Randolph, then Secretary of War, favored this plan and 
issued an order to Holmes accordingly for the concentration of 
his army with Pemberton's on the east side of the great river, 
where Grant's army then was. General Johnston stated in his 
note that he regarded Vicksburg as being then in danger. 

President Davis ignored Johnston's recommendation, notwith- 
standing that no enemy was menacing Holmes's army and it was 
practically idle. Mr. Davis annulled the order of the Secretary. 
He had been Secretary of War but a short time and was doubtless 
the most capable one who ever had held the position. Two days 
thereafter he resigned, presumably for reasons similar to those 
which caused the resignations from that office of Pope (Pope was 
his given name) Walker, Benjamin and Seddon. 

When Johnston arrived at his official headquarters at Chatta- 
nooga he received information through Adjutant-General Cooper 
that Pemberton was calling for reenforcements and the President 
wished him to send them from Bragg's army, which then lay at 
Murfreesboro, Tenn., and was much weaker in numbers than 
Rosecrans's, which confronted it. Johnston replied that Holmes's 
army was nearer to Pemberton's than Bragg's and could better 
afford to spare the troops necessary to reenforce Pemberton. 
But Mr. Davis went to Tennessee and against Johnston's wishes 
sent 9,000 of Bragg's men to Pemberton. 

When President Davis assigned General Johnston to the com- 
mand of three districts with three armies hundreds of miles apart, 
he gave him more than any one man could do. Then when he 
interfered with the direction of these armies and transfer of troops 


it was confusing and really embarrassing to Johnston and would 
have justified his resignation. He was a West Pointer, as well 
as Davis, and had had a varied experience in army life. He 
served through the Mexican war with distinction and several 
Indian wars. He was Quartermaster-General of the United States 
Army, with the rank of brigadier-general, when the Confederate 
war began. When Virginia, his native State, seceded, he resigned 
from the Army and went with her. He was esteemed by the 
Union as well as the Confederate side as an able general. He was 
severely criticised for not relieving Vicksburg. He never had a 
sufficient force to insure a victory over Grant and hence would 
not attack him. His army collected at Jackson was never half as 
numerous as that of the besiegers. Pemberton's only supposed 
merit was that he was a West Pointer. He seemed to have no 
skill and no merit whatever as a general. He disobeyed Johnston's 
orders time and again. When ordered to throw his whole force 
against Grant he met his advance at Baker's Creek and delayed 
an atack for hours when no troops but Hovey's division was in 
his immediate front. He might have destroyed that force before 
the main body arrived, but he waited until its arrival and then 
attacked three corps with but three of his brigades. As a matter 
of course he got whipped and his forces were divided. Loring's 
division went to Jackson and Pemberton retreated with his other 
troops to Vicksburg. After several of the Union gunboats had 
run past the Confederate batteries, thus proving their inefficiency 
to command the river, Johnston ordered Pemberton to evacuate 
the town while it was still practicable, and thus to save at least his 
garrison, but he disobeyed the order. His excuse was that Presi- 
dent Davis had ordered him never to surrender Vicksburg. This 
was an interference with Johnston and was a severe reflection on 
him as a general. Mr. Davis should have given that order to 
Johnston, the commander of the department, if to any one. 

Grant, with 50,000 men, performed a most daring maneuver 
when he surrounded and shut up Pemberton in Vicksburg and 
turned his back to Johnston, who was at Jackson with half that 
number of men. Had he been as daring and enterprising as 
Grant he would have attacked him, but he was too cautious. 

General Johnston tried to get Pemberton, after he was closely 
besieged, to agree upon a time and place when he would undertake 
to break through the lines, and he would aid him to cut through 
and save his army. 


The gallant men composing that garrison stood to their guns 
and behaved heroically during the long siege. At length, with 
hospitals filled with the sick and wounded, on the 4th of July, 
1863, Pemberton surrendered to Grant 31,000. soldiers. Inde- 
pendence Day was the worst day he could have selected. It was 
the most encouraging to the Unionists and most depressing to the 

Thereafter there was not a single soldier in all of the Con- 
federate armies who had any confidence in or respect for Lieut- 
Gen. J. C. Pemberton. 

Mr. Davis took his side and wrote General Johnston a letter 
of censure and so did Pemberton, to which Johnston replied, and 
had the best of the controversy. 

In reply to Davis, General Johnston said : 

While commanding one army in Mississippi, in the presence of a much 
more powerful one, that of General Grant, it was impossible for me to 
direct the operations of another far off in Tennessee, also greatly outnum- 
bered by its enemy. A general should command but one army, and that every 
army should have its general present with it, are maxims observed by all 
governments — because the world has produced few men competent to com- 
mand a large army when present with it, and none capable of doing both at 
the same time. 

It was utterly impracticable for Johnston to accomplish any- 
thing with his little army of twenty to twenty-five thousand men 
on the outside of Grant's fortified line of investment with such an 
utterly incapable general in command within Vicksburg as J. C. 
Pemberton. He was a failure in everything he undertook and in 
none was he successful. 

The surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, was followed, of 
course, by that of Port Hudson a few days later ; it was a terrible 
misfortune to the Confederacy. With the scarcity of men and 
arms it was of preeminent importance to have saved the garrisons 
of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, aggregating 40,000 men. It was 
much more so than to have held those points. President Davis 
was primarily responsible for their loss. General Johnston was 
right when he ordered Pemberton to evacuate Vicksburg and save 
his army. After gunboats ran past, in spite of the vigorous fire 
of the batteries, to hold it would not effectively blockade the 
river, and hence Vicksburg and Port Hudson were shorn of one- 
half their former usefulness to the Confederacy. 

On the 1 8th day of December, 1863, Mr. Davis, notwithstand- 
ing his elaborate and harsh criticisms of General Johnston, tele- 


graphed him to transfer the command of the department of Mis- 
sissippi and east Louisiana to Lieutenant-General Polk and to 
repair to Dalton, Ga., at once and assume the command of the 
Army of Tennessee, and that he would find instructions there. 

Mr. Davis was then visiting the troops in Alabama and Mis- 
sissippi. He ordered General Hardee and the brigades of Pettus 
and Moore from Depomolis, Ala., to the Army of Tennessee. 

General Johnston arrived at Dalton and took command of the 
army on the 27th of December. On January 2, 1864, he reported 
to the President that the effective total strength of the army 
(infantry and artillery) was but 36,000; the number present, 
including sick and on detail, 43,000 ; and the number present and 
absent, carried on the rolls, 77,000. The cavalry, which was not 
included in the foregoing, aggregated about five or six thousand. 
The horses of the cavalry and artillery were in poor plight and 
one-third of them utterly unfit for service. The men were poorly 
clad and insufficiently equipped. Johnston went actively to work 
to supply the needs of the men, maintain discipline and reanimate 
the army and inspire new hope. He was a great disciplinarian 
and organizer without unreasonable harshness. 

A rough estimate of the Union troops at Chattanooga, Bridge- 
port, Stevenson and Knoxville aggregated 80,000. 

President Davis wrote to Johnston in the last days of December 
congratulating him on the army's fair condition and numerical 
strength, and expressing a desire to have him advance as early in 
the spring as the roads would admit and reoccupy all the valuable 
territory which had been lost the preceding fall. Johnston replied, 
and among other things said : 

Your Excellency well impresses upon me the importance of recovering 
the territory we have lost. I feel it deeply, but difficulties appear to me in the 
way. The Secretary of War has informed me that I must not hope for reen- 

Then he stated to Mr. Davis the great difficulties to be encoun- 
tered and enumerated them, which seemed to render an aggressive 
campaign to regain lost territory utterly impracticable. He then 
added : 

I can see no other mode of taking the offensive than to beat the enemy 
when he advances, and then move forward. But to make victory probable, 
the army must be strengthened. A ready mode of doing this would be by sub- 
stituting negroes for all the soldiers on detached or daily duty, as well as 
company cooks, pioneers, and laborers for engineer service. This would give 


us at once ten or twelve thousand men. And the other armies of the Confed- 
eracy might be strengthened in the same proportion. Immediate and judicious 
legislation would be necessary, however. 

I earnestly ask your Excellency's consideration of this matter. A law 
authorizing the Government to take negroes for all the duties out of the ranks, 
for which soldiers are now detailed, giving the slave a portion of the pay, and 
punishing the master for not returning him if he deserts, would enable us to 
keep them in service. This is the opinion of the seven or eight ranking officers 

My experience in Mississippi was, that impressed negroes run away when- 
ever it is possible, and are frequently encouraged by their masters to do so; 
and I never knew one to be returned by his master. 

General Johnston, by saying that "impressed negroes run away 
whenever it is possible," did not mean that they went to the 
enemy, but that they went home, and that their masters would not 
return them, and hence he wished the Confederate Congress to 
legislate on the subject to make the method of impressment 

General Johnston's recommendations were wise, and finally 
adopted by the President, and in a message to Congress legislation 
to that end was recommended, but it came too late — four months 
thereafter, and then the Congress took six months more to con- 
sider it, when the law should have been enacted in thirty days after 
Johnston recommended it. 

Early in May the Union army under Major-General Sherman 
began its advance on the Army of Tennessee. The latter, on 
Johnston's recommendation, had been organized into three corps, 
commanded respectively by Hardee, Polk, and Hood. 

During 1861, 1862, and 1863 the practice in all the Confederate 
armies was to charge the Union troops in strong positions and to 
charge and capture batteries of artillery. They thus displayed 
reckless gallantry and many men were unnecessarily sacrificed. 
The practice of the generals was battle in the open ; they scorned 
entrenchments. But when the campaigns in Virginia and Georgia 
opened in the spring of 1864, a different policy was adopted. 
Men were too scarce to thus sacrifice them ; economy in men was 
necessary. Lee in Virginia, with about three to one against him, 
and Johnston in Georgia, with nearly the same relative difference, 
found it necessary to act on the defensive and to fortify against 
the heavy assaults of the vast armies of Grant and Sherman. Had 
this policy been adopted by the Confederate generals a year ear- 
lier than it was, it would have greatly increased the chances for 
success of the Southern Confederacy. But this marks the differ- 


ence between genius and commonplace. Genius sees beforehand 
what should be done and commonplace sees it when too late. 
While the Confederate generals were, as a rule, among the ablest 
who ever lived upon the American hemisphere, yet they did not 
resort to this economy of men until necessity, on account of the 
paucity of numbers, drove them to it. 

General Johnston in his Narrative (pp. 317, 318) says: 

My own operations, then and subsequently, were determined by the rela- 
tive forces of the armies, and a higher estimate of the Northern soldiers than 
our Southern editors and politicians were accustomed to express, or even the 
Administration seemed to entertain. This opinion had been formed in much 
service with them against Indians, and four or five battles in Mexico — such 
actions, at least, as were then called battles. Observations of almost twenty 
years of service of this sort had impressed on my mind the belief that the 
soldiers of the Regular Army of the United States — almost all Northern men — 
were equal in fighting qualities to any that had been formed in the wars of 
Great Britain and France. General Sherman's troops, with whom we were 
contending, had received a longer training in war than any of those with whom 
I had served in former times. It was not to be supposed that such troops, 
under a sagacious and resolute leader, and covered by entrenchments, were 
to be beaten by greatly inferior numbers. I therefore thought it our policy to 
stand on the defensive, to spare the blood of our soldiers by fighting under 
cover habitually, and to attack only when bad position or division of the 
enemy's forces might give us advantages counter-balancing that of superior 
numbers. So we held every position occupied until our communications were 
strongly threatened ; then fell back only far enough to secure them, watching 
for opportunities to attack, keeping near enough to the Federal army to assure 
the Confederate Administration that Sherman could not send reenforcements 
to Grant, and hoping to reduce the odds against us by partial engagements. A 
material reduction of the Federal army might also be reasonably expected 
before the end of June, by the expiration of the terms of service of the regi- 
ments that had not reenlisted. I was confident, too, that the Administration 
would see the expediency of employing Forrest and his cavalry to break the 
enemy's railroad communications, by which he could have been defeated. 

It was now well known that Sherman's army was from ninety 
to one hundred and ten thousand strong. Near Dalton, on Rocky- 
face Mountain, and at Snake Creek Gap, Resaca, at Calhoun, 
Adairsville and Cassville, Sherman flanked Johnston's position 
and caused him to fall back to another. At Cassville Johnston 
claimed that his position was all that he desired, and could not 
well be turned. But he says in his book that just after night Polk 
and Hood said that the enemy's batteries would enfilade their 
positions the next day and that neither of them could hold his 
position, and that in consequence he ordered a retreat at once; 
that it was against his judgment, but that he yielded in obedience 
to their wishes, although General Hardee opposed it. This state- 


ment General Hood most vehemently denied. See his book, 
"Advance and Retreat," pp. 108, 109. 
Hood says in reply to this charge : 

With the foregoing statement I do at this day and hour in the name of 
truth, honor, and justice, in the name of the departed soul of the Christian 
and noble Polk, and in the presence of my Creator, most solemnly deny that 
General Polk or I recommended General Johnston, at Cassville, to retreat 
when he intended to give battle ; and affirm that the recommendation made 
by us to change his position was, throughout the discussion, coupled with the 
proviso, if he did not intend to force a pitched battle. 

General Johnston's army retreated across the Etowah that 
night. The next stand made by him was at Altoona in the 
Etowah Mountains, but Sherman's flanking toward Marietta 
caused another retreat. On June 27 Johnston withstood the as- 
saults of Sherman in several bloody encounters at New Hope 
Church, and repulsed him; but no substantial advantage was 
gained except the repulse, killing and disabling a large number 
of Sherman's men without heavy loss to the Confederates. Great 
courage was displayed by the Confederates, and several instances 
of heroism occurred. The next day Johnston made another stand 
at Acworth, and again repulsed Sherman's advance in a less mo- 
mentous affair. He fell back to Kenesaw Mountain and Marietta. 

On June 13, while on Pine Mountain with Generals Johnston, 
Hardee, and Hood, reconnoitering, Lieutenant-General Polk, 
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, and one of the corps 
commanders, was killed by a shell fired by a Union battery about 
six or seven hundred yards distant. His death was a great loss 
to that army and to the Confederate cause. Thereafter Loring, 
the senior major-general, commanded the corps until A. P. Stew- 
art was appointed lieutenant-general and assigned to the com- 
mand of it. 

On July 2 General Johnston occupied a strong position at Ken- 
esaw, with his three corps strongly entrenched, and with Wheel- 
er's division of cavalry on his right and Jackson's on his left. He 
was in fine position to receive an assault by Sherman's entire 
army. But reports from outposts in observation were that Sher- 
man was transferring strong bodies of troops to his right. With- 
out waiting for Sherman to divide his force and then falling on 
one-half of it, with chances of its destruction, Johnston at once 
began a change of base to a new line of entrenchments prepared 
by his engineers and chief of artillery nearer to the Chattahoochee 


River, so as to keep between Sherman and Atlanta. As soon as 
the new lines were reached, that ever-alert and active officer, Maj.- 
Gen. Joseph Wheeler, was ordered to the south bank of the 
Chattahoochee in close observation and picketing the river. No 
move could be made by Sherman's army without Wheeler's know- 
ing and promptly reporting it, which caused him to be praised 
and approved by Bragg, Johnston, Hood, and President Davis. 
He is now a brigadier-general in the Regular Army of the United 
States on the retired list. 

Sherman approached Johnston in his new position cautiously, 
entrenching as he moved. He soon dug around him and began 
crossing or preparing to cross the river. On the night of July 9 
the Confederate army crossed, took a position two miles from it. 
and entrenched. Numbers of negroes were impressed, and the 
Confederate engineers worked day and night strengthening the 
defenses around Atlanta. Johnston selected the range of hills 
behind Peachtree Creek, with the low valley in front, where, he 
said after the war, he intended to have made a stand, and as he 
believed with advantages of position on his side he could have 
won a victory. On the 17th of July, 1864, at night, the following 
telegram was received by him from Adjutant-General Cooper: 

Lieut-Gen. J. B. Hood has been commissioned to the temporary rank of 
general under the law of Congress. I am directed by the Secretary of War 
to inform you, that as you have failed to arrest the advance of the enemy 
to the vicinity of Atlanta, far in the interior of Georgia, and express no con- 
fidence that you can defeat or repel him, you are hereby relieved from the com- 
mand of the Army and Department of Tennessee, which you will immediately 
turn over to General Hood. 

On the morning of the 18th Hood took command of the army. 
This terminated General Johnston's connection with that army 
until a later date. 

Various opinions were at the time expressed as to General John- 
ston's removal from the command of that army. The old sol- 
diers and people of that day are still divided in opinion. A de- 
cided majority, especially of the survivors of the Army of Ten- 
nessee, believe that it was a great mistake on the part of President 
Davis. Johnston complained of it as an injustice to him. He 
said in his Narrative (pp. 355, 356) : 

I suppose that my course would not be disapproved by him ; especially as 
General Lee, by keeping on the defensive and falling back toward Grant's 
objective point, under circumstances like mine, was increasing his great 


fame. I believed then, as firmly as I do now, that the system pursued was the 
only one at my command that promised success, and that, if adhered to, it 
would have given us success. 

He states that the losses of the army while he commanded it in 
that campaign, in the infantry and artillery, aggregated 9,972 
killed and wounded, and estimated that Sherman's army lost six 
times that number. 

In April, 1868, three years after the close of the war, General 
Hardee, one of the finest corps commanders that the war devel- 
oped on either side, wrote General Johnston, saying : 

In my opinion the organization, morale, and effectiveness of that army, 
excellent at the opening of the campaign, had not been impaired at its close. 
There had been nothing in the campaign to produce that effect. It is true that 
the superior numbers of the enemy, enabling them to cover our front with 
a part of their forces, and to use the remainder for flanking purposes, ren- 
dered our positions successively untenable, and that we lost territory. But the 
enemy's loss in men and morale was more than an equivalent. The continu- 
ous skrmishing and sharp partial engagements of the campaign uniformly 
resulted in success to our arms ; and in the seventy days preceding the 18th 
of July we had inflicted upon the enemy a loss probably equal to our whole 
numbers. Our changes of position were deliberate, and without loss, disor- 
der, or other discouragement. The troops were well fed, well cared for, and 
well handled. When we reached Atlanta we were nearer our base and the 
enemy farther from his. The disparity in numbers between the two armies 
had been diminishing daily ; our army had suffered no disaster and the enemy 
had gained no advantage; and altogether the results of the campaign summed 
up largely in our favor. Our soldiers were intelligent enough to appreciate 
this; and in my judgment, then, it was not only a fact, but a material and 
logical result of the premises, that the morale of the army, so far from being 
impaired, was improved. 

The troops were in buoyant spirits. They felt that they had been tested 
in a severe and protracted campaign, and that they had borne the test. They 
had more confidence in themselves and in their officers, and especially they 
had unwavering and unbounded confidence in the commanding general. 
Speaking for my own corps, I have no hesitancy in saying that I should have 
led them into action with more confidence at the close than at the beginning 
of the campaign. 

Lieut-Gen. A. P Stewart corroborated this statement, and said 
that the same was true in his corps. 

Now as to the reasons for General Johnston's removal from 
command. He had in May, and all along through June, often 
requested that General Forrest, or John H. Morgan, with 5,000 
men, be sent against Sherman's communications. It had not been 
done. The last day of June or first of July a consultation with 
General Johnston was had by Senator Wigfall, of Texas, Gov- 
ernor Brown, and Senator Ben Hill, of Georgia. The General 


said that he could not fight Sherman in his trenches, but if Presi- 
dent Davis would order Forrest or John H. Morgan with 5,000 
cavalry to cut the railroads in Sherman's rear and keep them bro- 
ken, it would force Sherman to come out and fight Johnston wher- 
ever he found him, or to retreat. He said that he wanted them 
to aid him to get the President to give the order. 

Senator Hill in order to make sure of it went on to Richmond 
and had an interview with the President. He said that long 
before then he had ordered Morgan with his force to operate on 
Sherman's communications between Chattanooga and Atlanta. 
That Morgan asked to be allowed to go through Kentucky and 
via Nashville, saying that he could greatly strengthen his com- 
mand by volunteers and obtain fresh horses. That he gave his per- 
mission. Morgan undertook it, met the enemy, was defeated, and 
driven back to Abingdon, Virginia, where he then was with but 
1,800 men. He said that Smith, with 15,000 men, was advancing 
from Vicksburg, either to reenforce Sherman or to capture Mobile, 
it was not certain which ; and that General Canby, with an army of 
30,000, was marching from another direction to attack Mobile. 
That General Maury, who commanded there, had but two or three 
thousand men, and was calling for reenforcements. That Stephen 
D. Lee, who commanded that department, had but 7,000 men, 
including Forrest's and Roddey's commands, and that all the men 
he could assemble for the defense of Mobile, and to meet Smith's 
advance, was 11,000, but with that number, if he could get no 
more, he would meet Smith and whip him, and so indeed he did. 
Mr. Davis thus showed Hill that he could not send troops from 
elsewhere against the railroads in Sherman's rear. He should 
have sent Forrest in June, when men enough could have been 
spared, and the sledge-hammer blows of that Martel of the West 
would have put Sherman's army on short rations at once, and ulti- 
mately have driven him to retreat. 

Mr. Davis was troubled ; he knew not what to do. His Cabinet, 
Mr. Hill said, were unanimously in favor of the removal of Gen- 
eral Johnston. He hesitated to remove him under the circum- 
stances and in the presence of a hostile army. He had resisted 
the demands for the removal from command of Albert Sidney 
Johnston in 1862, and the sequel proved that he was pre-eminently 
right in thus refusing. But he had lost confidence in Joseph E. 


The telegraph line was kept busy between him and General 
Johnston. The latter's replies were somewhat evasive. Finally 
the question was put to Johnston categorically, "Will you surren- 
der Atlanta without a fight ?" To this the answer was regarded 
as evasive and as indicating the contingency of surrendering At- 
lanta on the ground that Governor Brown had not furnished suffi- 
cient State troops to man the city works while the army was giv- 
ing battle outside, and thereupon Davis ordered his removal. 

The President was surely entitled to a direct and positive an- 
swer to the question, "Will you surrender Atlanta without a 

Johnston should have answered, "No ! I cannot say just when, 
but I will never surrender the city without a fight." 

But he was like Dr. Shepherd, who never would give a direct or 
positive answer to any question. "Doctor, do you think it likely 
to rain today?" "Well, there is some humidity in the atmos- 
phere." "Doctor, have you been to the postoffice this morning?" 
"I got my papers." 

General Johnston would not say, when requested by the highest 
authority, and one who had the right to know, what he would do. 
It was his duty to have answered Mr. Davis; and while his re- 
moval was unfortunate, at that time, as subsequent events abun- 
dantly proved, yet Johnston was not entitled to the least particle 
of sympathy. His reply was not respectful to Mr. Davis, and 
seems, in that moment of intense interest, to have emanated from a 
constitutional defect in the man — an aversion to ever giving a 
direct answer to any question as to what his future action would 
be in any event. His removal, however, at that time and under 
the circumstances was most unfortunate. 


longstreet's campaign 

Longstreet in East Tennessee — Siege of Knoxville — Burnside Successfully 
Resists — Longstreet Cut Off From Bragg's Army by Battle of Missionary 
Ridge — Battle of Dandridge — A Hard Winter — Quarrel Between Long- 
street and His Generals, McLaws, Law, and Robertson — Return to Vir- 
ginia — Law Wounded — Recommendation of Oates's Promotion Disap- 
proved by Longstreet. 

Early in November, Longstreet, with his two divisions which 
he brought from Virginia, and Wheeler's cavalry, followed by 
Buckner's division, marched against Knoxville, where Burnside 
commanded. Bushrod Johnson, with two brigades, subsequently 
joined him at Knoxville. It was currently reported at the time 
that this move was made by the direction of President Davis, but 
he denied after the war that he ordered it. Longstreet says in his 
book (p. 481) that Bragg ordered him, against his remonstrance, 
and with an insufficient force, against Knoxville. His tardiness 
in movement indicated reluctance. 

On Longstreet's advance at Lenoir's Station he had seven thou- 
sand of the enemy nearly surrounded. By a quick and vigorous 
movement of a half mile he could have captured every man of 
them, but his slothfulness again prevailed ; they marched right out 
of the trap unmolested and went on to Knoxville to reenforce 
Burnside. At Campbell's Station, Longstreet gained the advan- 
tage in position over his enemy, but charges that his failure to win 
a victory there was because Gen. E. M. Law disobeyed orders. 
(Longstreet's book, p. 494.) Law vigorously denies the charge. 
When he arrived at Knoxville he maneuvered and skirmished 
before the fortifications several days, until the enemy had made 
them impregnable. He then decided to storm Fort Sanders, and 
when he sent his troops to do that he sent them to destruction. 
The brave Georgians of Wofford's and Bryan's brigades were 
sent without scaling ladders against a fort, the wall of which the 
day before a dog had been seen to fail in his efforts to ascend 


from the moat. Under a withering fire they charged to the fort 
and some of the men forced their way through the gate of 
entrance and were either killed or captured inside. It was simply 
impossible to scale the wall without ladders and none had been 
provided. A failure and heavy losses were the consequence. He 
remained around Knoxville until after Bragg was whipped at 
Missionary Ridge. Burnside was then reenforced and Longstreet 
raised the siege December 8, 1863, and retreated into Eastern 

Now let us turn back to Bragg for a moment. By the capture 
of Lookout Valley Grant had regained the best wagon road, the 
possession of the lower river and railroad connection with Nash- 
ville. At this critical juncture Longstreet, with his command, 
was sent away and of course Grant lost no time in getting posses- 
sion of Lookout Mountain. Hooker describes his contest with 
Walthall's and Pettus's brigades to capture it as "The battle above 
the clouds." 

Bragg necessarily withdrew to Missionary Ridge, when Long- 
street left, the best defensive position available, and strongly forti- 
fied the Ridge, which is in full view of Chattanooga. In order to 
make his victory sure, Grant drew Sherman's army to him. On 
its arrival it crossed the river above Chattanooga and was thrown 
on Bragg's right long and persistently. He reenforced that part 
of his line by drawing from his center, his left being attacked by 
Ewing's division and Hooker's two corps. Drawing from his 
center was the very thing Grant wanted him to do, until it was 
weakened, and then he threw his whole army, under Thomas and 
McPherson, against Bragg's weakened center and broke it. At 
the same time Ewing's division and Hooker's troops turned 
Bragg's left and he was beaten of course. Grant outgeneraled 
Bragg and rendered Longstreet's campaign completely abortive. 

Bragg retreated to Dalton, Ga., where he surrendered the com- 
mand of his demoralized army to General Hardee and went to 
Richmond. Subsequently the President assigned Joseph E. 
Johnston to the command of it while in quarters at Dalton, Ga., 
where it spent the winter. 

Thus ended the great farce which extended from the close of 
the battle of Chickamauga to the end of the year 1863. Never 
during the whole war was there such blundering and want of 
generalship displayed on the Confederate side as by Bragg and 
Longstreet during this period. Like age and want, they were 


an ill-matched pair, and the proud Southern boast of superior 
generalship has no appropriate place in this part of our narrative 
nor in the history of the war. 

In General Longstreet's retreat from Knoxville, Buckner's 
division and the cavalry pursued the line of the Virginia Railroad 
and the divisions of Hood and McLaws went up the valley of the 
Holston River. At Bean Station, within one mile of the now 
famous Tate Spring, these divisions were turned against the Six- 
teenth Army Corps and Burbridge's division, which had followed 
them from Knoxville. After a lively skirmish the Federals 
declined a regular engagement and withdrew. Longstreet then 
crossed the Holston and reached the railroad at Morristown, 
where he stopped for a time. He then moved eastward along 
the railroad some fifteen miles, where he put his troops in winter 

That was one of the hardest winters that had been seen in many 
years, and the coldest which occurred during the war. Com- 
manders were soon changed at Knoxville, General Foster suc- 
ceeding Burnside. Major-Generals Gordon Granger, Parks and 
Sturgis did all they could to gratify Grant's urgency to drive 
Longstreet out of Tennessee. General Wheeler was ordered back 
to the Army of Tennessee at Dalton, then under the command of 
Lieut.-Gen. William J. Hardee. When he left, Major-General 
Martin commanded the cavalry remaining with Longstreet and 
handled it very efficiently. In January, 1864, the Union troops 
were concentrating in the neighborhood of Dandridge for the 
purpose of a forward movement to drive Longstreet out. He 
took the initiative and concentrated enough of his troops to repulse 
and drive back theirs, which ended that enterprise. The Con- 
federates returned to camp, but were frequently disturbed and 
called out, but no battle was fought except skirmishes with the 
cavalry. Longstreet moved his force east in the direction of 
Greenville to Bull's Gap, a good defensive position and more con- 
venient to supplies. Many of his men were barefooted and the 
War Department in Richmond was unable to furnish shoes in 
sufficient quantity to supply the barefooted men. A shoe shop 
was improvised and a number of men detailed to make shoes. 
Only a small quantity of leather could be obtained and recourse 
was had to raw hides, just as they came off the beeves. Moccasins 
were made out of them, turning the hairy side next to the foot. 
This devjce saved many men from having frost-bitten feet. At 


the camps in the neighborhood of Bull's Gap the army was made 
as comfortable as practicable under all the circumstances. Every 
officer and man who could under any possible pretext get a fur- 
lough, went home, if only for a few days, that winter. 

Now if the reader will return to Dr. Davis's camp at the eastern 
foot of Lookout Mountain, where you left me on the morning of 
the 29th of October, and excuse the diversion, I will give some 
further account of myself as a badly wounded soldier. 

The next day after reaching Dr. Davis's camp he sent me, by 
ambulance, to that point on the railroad to which the trains ran 
from Atlanta. At this depot I lay on some straw in a tent all 
night and was next morning transferred to a thin straw bed in a 
box car, the train leaving for Atlanta some time that afternoon, 
at which place it arrived just before day the next morning, the 
third day after I was wounded, and I had during that time no 
refreshments but coffee and hard tack, and not enough of these. 
Nor was my wound dressed until after I arrived in Atlanta. I 
was taken to a hospital, where I remained about three days. I 
had one of the little drummer boys — Jimmie Newberry — with me. 
I applied to the surgeon for a transfer to Eufaula, Ala., and was 
informed that he could not transfer any of the wounded south of 
Griffin. I took it to Griffin. I had to be carried to the train on 
a litter and once on I refused to be taken off the train at Griffin 
and remained on until it reached Macon. They took me off and 
laid me on the floor in the depot. I sent Newberry to the Brown 
House for help to remove me to it, which was soon sent, and Mr. 
Brown had me cared for and made as comfortable as possible until 
the next morning, when the southwestern train left, upon which 
I went to Eufaula, where I was treated with the most marked 
kindness through a long and painful suffering before I was able 
to go on crutches. My wound was not dressed from the night 
before I left Atlanta until I arrived in Eufaula, a period of two 
days. This, with the failure of suppuration, threw me into a high 
fever and for two or three days I did not know day from night. 
During this period some one robbed me of every cent I had — nine 
hundred dollars in Confederate money and five dollars in gold. I 
always had an opinion about it, but no discovery was ever made 
of the guilty party. When able to move around the room on my 
crutches, Col. Wash Toney and his wife took me out to their 
hospitable home in the country, where I received from themselves 


338 longstreet's campaign 

and family such kindness as they would have bestowed on a son. 
This was the beginning of my friendship for that family, which 
years afterwards resulted in the marriage of myself and their 

Early in March, 1864, I threw aside my crutches and used only 
a cane. In that plight I returned, accompanied by my man- 
servant, William, going by Augusta, Wilmington, Richmond and 
Lynchburg, and found the regiment in winter quarters between 
Greenville and Morristown at Bull's Gap, East Tennessee. It was 
under the command of a captain, Lieutenant-Colonel Feagin still 
being in prison and Major Lowther at home. At Knoxville Capt. 
Frank Park, a most genial and noble gentleman and brave officer, 
had been killed. First Lieut. William L. Wilson, now a citizen 
of Texas, an accomplished gentleman and good officer, had lost 
one of his legs. Sergeant John McLeod, of my old company, one 
of Henry County's best soldiers, had been killed and many other 
most regrettable casualties had occurred in the regiment. The 
regiment was in poor condition and I went to work at once to get 
it up to its former high state of efficiency. The men being old 
veterans, it did not require any great amount of effort to put them 
in fighting trim. Lieut. William Henry Strickland was promoted 
to the captaincy of Company I, vice Park, killed. Other promo- 
tions were made to fill vacancies wherever necessary, from the 
best material and generally for meritorious conduct. Absentees 
on furlough came in, until the regiment soon numbered over 400 
for duty. 

A large amount of bad feeling prevailed among the general 
officers in Longstreet's little army. He had court-martialed 
Major-General McLaws for his failure to capture the fort at 
Knoxville and a subservient court convicted him. But President 
Davis and his Cabinet, on a review of the evidence, reversed the 
judgment of the court and restored McLaws to the command of 
his division. He, however, refused to serve again under Long- 
street. There was a sharp rivalry between Jenkins and Law 
as to which should be appointed major-general to command 
Hood's division. Longstreet recommended Jenkins after, as Law 
alleged, promising to recommend him. The controversy ran so 
high that Law tendered his resignation. He was given leave of 
absence and allowed to take his resignation to the War Depart- 
ment, but Hood, who was in Richmond, caused the War Depart- 
ment not to accept it and to give Law a leave of absence instead. 


The officers and men of the brigade were so dissatisfied that all 
of the field officers, except Colonel Perry, signed a petition to be 
transferred to Mobile or back to Lee's army, and Law, after his 
return, approved and forwarded it. All this so highly offended 
Longstreet that he put Law under arrest and asked for a court to 
try him — charging Law with false pretenses, the destruction of 
his resignation, which was intrusted to him for transmission to 
the War Department, and transferred his brigade to Buckner's 
division. Law retained General Benning and myself as counsel 
to defend him before the court. The true reason why the Presi- 
dent, acting through the Secretary of War, refused to order a 
court to try Law was that Hood had prevailed on Law to recon- 
sider, and Hood took the resignation and destroyed it. President 
Davis knew all about this and that if Law were tried he would be 
acquitted. I doubt whether this action of Hood's was ever made 
known to Longstreet. During that winter Longstreet arrested 
Brigadier-General Robertson, of Texas, and practically drove him 
out of the service. 

The War Department settled the controversy between Law and 
Jenkins by appointing C. W Field a major-general and assigning 
him to command the division. They answered Longstreet's 
request for a court martial to try Law by releasing him from 
arrest and ordering his brigade back to the old division, which 
was then in Virginia. The transfer of the brigade into Buckner's 
division just at a time when he knew that the old division was 
going back to Lee's army, was intended by Longstreet as a punish- 
ment to the brigade by leaving it in East Tennessee, just where 
none of us desired to be left. The effort to punish the men of 
that brigade to gratify his malice against Law, its commander, 
was too small a thing for a man of Longstreet's position to have 
stooped to perform. But he was brim-full of malice. In his 
book, written many years after the war, he never mentioned Law's 
brigade in complimentary terms except slightly for its good 
marching at Gettysburg. He ignored it, though no brigade in 
his corps did better fighting or contributed more to his good 
reputation as a hard fighter than the officers and men of this 
brigade. He did injustice to them because he hated Law. 

When Law arrived with his brigade at Cobham's Station, 
between Charlottesville and Gordonsville, Va., within four miles 
of the latter place, Longstreet arrested him again and ordered 
him away from his brigade to Gordonsville to await his trial. 

340 longstreet's campaign 

We remained at Cobham's several days, and while here General 
Lee reviewed the troops. His daughter, Miss Mildred, was with 
him, and was admired by the soldiers for her graceful horseback 
riding. Many of our sick and wounded who had recovered came 
to us here. The spring was opening and the weather fine. 

On the 3d of May we marched to and a little south of Gordons- 
ville and camped. As the brigade passed Law, who stood in front 
of his tent, each regiment cheered him. I stopped and he asked 
me what I thought he had better do. I asked him if he had been 
furnished with a copy of the charges against him and he replied 
that he had not. I suggested that he demand them at once, which 
he did. Longstreet's headquarters were in sight. Law sent his 
aide-de-camp to demand the charges and Colonel Sorrell, Long- 
street's adjutant-general, answered his note, saying : "You have 
already been furnished with the charges." I advised Law to 
send his aide-de-camp, Mims Walker (who, after the war, repre- 
sented his county in both branches of the State legislature and 
died at his home in Marengo County, Ala., in 1902 ), to Richmond 
that evening to lay before the Secretary of War his note demand- 
ing the charges, with the reply written thereon. This he did and 
Law was again released from arrest and restored to the command 
of his brigade, but he did not reach it until during the fighting at 
Spottsylvania Court House, about the 12th of May. While he 
was under arrest Colonel Perry, of the Forty-fourth Alabama, 
commanded the brigade. General Law then commanded until 
wounded at the battle of Turkey Ridge, or Second Cold Harbor, 
June 3, 1864. He never returned to the brigade when he recov- 
ered, but was made a major-general and assigned to the command 
of cavalry under Gen. Wade Hampton. He survived the war 
and now lives at Bartow, Fla. He was a brave man and a skilful 

After he was wounded he recommended that I be appointed 
brigadier-general and assigned to the command of his brigade. 
I never saw the paper, but was informed that it was approved 
by Generals Field and Anderson, the division and corps com- 
manders, but General Longstreet disapproved it, because I was 
Law's friend and he had recommended me for promotion. I 
will do him the justice to say that Colonel Perry ranked me, was 
then in command of the brigade and Longstreet preferred him to 
me, not on account of his record, but because he was Longstreet's 
friend in his quarrel with Law. There was no rivalry between 

longstreet's campaign 341 

Colonel Perry and myself. He continued to command the brigade, 
but was not made a brigadier until February, 1865. General 
Hood, commander of the Army of Tennessee, requested the War 
Department to commission me a brigadier and send me to him in 
August, but at that time I had not recovered from the loss of my 

Blessings sometimes come in disguise. In General Hood's 
book, "Advance and Retreat," he claims that many of the gen- 
erals in his army did not obey his orders. He knew that I would 
obey and execute orders promptly and faithfully. Had I been 
well I would have been commissioned a brigadier-general and 
sent to him, according to his request, and would have been killed 
at the battle of Franklin, where Cleburne and all of the Confederate 
generals who participated in that engagement, save one, who was 
captured, were killed. The probabilities are that the loss of my 
arm, which prevented my promotion, saved my life. The thought 
is consoling, to say the least of it. 



Grant Placed in Command of the Army of the Potomac — He Crosses the 
Rapidan — Lee the Grandest Specimen of Manhood I Ever Beheld — Gen- 
eral Perry's Description of Part of the Battle — Killing of Jenkins and 
Wounding of Longstreet by Their Own Men the Turning Point of the 
Battle — Gordon's Brilliant Work — Another Lost Opportunity. 

General Grant's success in the West had given him great fame, 
and he had been called to Washington and placed in command of 
the Army of the Potomac. Meade was not removed from the 
immediate command, but Grant was placed over him as com- 
mander of all the armies of the Union. That army had been re- 
enforced until when the great campaign commenced it was com- 
posed of 150,000 soldiers present for duty. When Grant accepted 
this assignment it was upon two conditions, to wit, that he should 
have all the men he called for and that all exchanges of prisoners 
should cease. 

On the 4th day of May, 1864, Grant, with this immense force, 
crossed the Rapidan River and began his advance on Richmond. 
All the men General Lee had with which to meet this host were 
54,000. Ewell attacked with his corps, on the evening of the 4th, 
and then began that memorable campaign which closed at Appo- 
mattox Court House nearly one year afterwards. 

A. P Hill's corps came into action on the morning of the 5th, 
on Ewell's right, extending the line of battle at right angles from 
the river to the Plank Road in the Wilderness. In this position 
the battle raged all day, while Longstreet, with Hood's old divis- 
ion, then Field's, and McLaws's old division, then commanded by 
Kershaw, was marching down the Catharpin Road, which ran 
parallel with and at a mean distance of about six miles from and 
south of the Plank Road. 

Lee's object manifestly was to have Longstreet turn Grant's 
left flank and attack him in the rear, but he was too slow. He put 
his two divisions in bivouac on the night of the 5th just opposite 


Hill's right, but more than six miles away. General Lee foresaw 
that Hill's troops could not withstand the assaults of the next 
morning which he anticipated from Hancock's veteran corps of 
30,000 which confronted them, and that before Longstreet could 
reach his rear Hancock would beat Hill and drive him deep into 
the Wilderness, destroy the alignment, and render a junction of the 
two corps quite difficult and hazardous. Longstreet had not 
moved down that parallel road with the celerity which Lee ex- 
pected, and hence could not turn Grant's left before the afternoon 
next day. He ordered Longstreet to march through the woods 
that night over to the Plank Road to the support of Hill. 

At about 2 o'clock A. M. on the 6th we began to move, and 
progressed so slowly along the devious neighborhood road that it 
was daylight when the head of the column reached the Plank 
Road, about two miles in rear of where the fighting ceased the 
previous evening and where, just at this moment, it recommenced 
with great fury. As we hurried to the front we passed quite a 
number of wounded Confederates lying by the side of the road, 
and among them Generals Cook, of Georgia, and Kirkland, of 
North Carolina. In anticipation that his troops would be relieved 
early the next morning, Hill had not prepared to receive the at- 
tack which was made on him. 

Longstreet's column reached the scene of action none too soon. 
Hancock was just then turning Hill's right and driving his men 
from their position, although they were manfully contesting every 
inch of ground. Anderson's Georgians was the first brigade of 
Field's division to engage the enemy. Benning's and the Texas 
Brigade got into action next on the right or south side of the 
Plank Road, and were temporarily repulsed. We met General 
Benning, brought out on a litter severely wounded. Colonel Perry 
then formed Law's brigade, as it came up in double quick, to the 
left of the Plank Road with the Fourth Alabama's right resting 
upon it and the Fifteenth on the left of the brigade and of the line. 
To reach our position we had to pass within a few feet of General 
Lee. He sat his fine gray horse "Traveler," with the cape of his 
black cloak around his shoulders, his face flushed and full of ani- 
mation. The balls were flying around him from two directions. 
His eyes were on the fight then going on south of the Plank Road 
between Kershaw's division and the flanking column of the en- 
emy. He had just returned from attempting to lead the Texas 
Brigade in a second charge, when those gallant men and their offi- 


cers refused to allow him to do so. My friend Col. Van H. Man- 
ning, of the Third Arkansas, then in command of the brigade, did 
that himself, fell severely wounded while leading the charge, and 
was taken prisoner. A group of General Lee's staff were on their 
horses just in rear of him. He turned in his saddle and called to 
his chief of staff in a most vigorous tone, while pointing with his 
finger across the road, and said : "Send an active young officer 
down there." I thought him at that moment the grandest speci- 
men of manhood I ever beheld. He looked as though he ought 
to have been and was the monarch of the world. He glanced his 
eye down on the "ragged rebels" as they filed around him in quick 
time to their place in line, and inquired, "What troops are these?" 
And was answered by some private in the Fifteenth, "Law's Ala- 
bama brigade." He exclaimed in a strong voice, "God bless the 
Alabamians !" The men cheered and went into line with a whoop. 
The advance began. It was about two hundred and fifty yards 
from my left to a dense woods right opposite. From that, as we 
advanced, came a flank fire, which with the one in front made our 
position a critical one. 

As to what followed I prefer to let Colonel, afterwards Brig- 
Gen. W F. Perry, our brigade commander, tell. I extract from 
an article in the February number, 1879, of the Southern Histor- 
ical Society papers, as follows : 

The first visible sign of battle that we encountered was the field hospital, 
through the depressing scenes of which our line of march lay. We were now 
on the Orange Plank Road, and began to meet the wounded retiring from the 
field. At first there were few ; but soon they came in streams, some borne on 
litters, some supported by comrades, and others making their way alone. 
Close behind them were the broken masses of Heth's division, swarming 
through the woods, heedless of their officers, who were riding in every direc- 
tion shouting to gain their attention and to halt them. 

The brigades, pressing on with increasing speed, lapped each other and 
now in some places filled the road with a double column of march. The only 
encouraging feature of the situation was the manner in which the men bore 
up under the depressing influences around them. They were just now re- 
joining their comrades, and idolized commander, after a separation of eight 
months. They saw that their reunion had occurred at a crisis when lofy 
qualities were in demand and great things were to be done; and they rose 
with the emergency. The stronger the pressure upon them, the greater the 
rebound and the firmer their resolution seemed to become. They urged the 
retreating soldiers to reform — come back — and aid them in beating the enemy. 
In a tone that indicated the belief that such an announcement was of itself 
sufficient to inspire renewed hope and courage, they informed them that they 
were "Longstreet's boys," returned to fight with them under "Old Bob." Their 
stern resolution rose into enthusiasm when a retreating soldier shouted, 
"Courage, boys ; Longstreet's men are driving them like sheep !" Kershaw 
then had reached the field, and gone into action, and they knew well what to 


expect of him. He had arrived, like Desaix at Marengo, in one of those great 
crises which few men are ever called upon to meet twice in a lifetime. Heth 
was far to the rear; the last battalion of Wilcox had broken just as the head 
of his column reached the point where stood General Lee, like a pillar of 
cloud, the only remaining obstacle to stay the surging billows that were stead- 
ily rolling onward and now near at hand. At a double-quick step, under fire 
and almost in the face of the foe, that 4,000 men formed line in the dense 
woods and attacked with such fury that more than 30,000 veterans re- 
coiled before them. 

But the column of Field was now pressing up, Anderson's Georgia brigade 
in front. It was deployed on the right of the road, where the enemy were in 
greatest numbers, and had made greatest progress. Next came Gregg's bri- 
gade of Texans, hardly 500 strong. It was thrown into line in the presence of 
General Lee on the left of the road. I shall not attempt to describe the 
scene — rising to the moral sublime — between this brigade and General Lee, 
or the baptism of fire and of blood that waited it. Of these history has al- 
ready taken charge. 

Benning's Georgia brigade next arrived, numbering not over 1,000 men. 
It passed over the ground stained by the blood of the heroic Texans. Being 
a larger brigade, it produced more impression; but its advance exposed its 
right flank to a deadly fire from the troops south of the road. This checked 
its progress and inflicted upon it great loss. I soon had occasion to learn, too, 
that heavy masses were pressing by and beyond its left. 

Next came the brigade with which this paper has more immediately to do. 
I was ordered to form to the left of the road also, in what seemed an old field, 
containing thirty acres or more. As the column wheeled into line, it passed 
immediately by a large group of horsemen, consisting chiefly of the corps and 
division commanders and their officers of the staff. But the central figure of 
that group — and the central figure of that larger group of famous men which 
the war between the States brought to the attention of mankind — was General 
Lee. The conception of his appearance in my mind to this day is that of a 
grand equestrian statue, of colossal proportions. His countenance, usually so 
placid and benign, was blazing with martial ardor. It was impossible not to 
feel that every man that passed him was, for the time being, a hero. The 
formation was completed at a double-quick step, and the instant that the last 
company sprung into line the forward movement began. 

The open ground in front sloped gradually downward for two or three 
hundred yards, and then, by an abrupt declivity, it descended to a narrow 
swamp or morass, which, beginning near the Plank Road, extended northward 
in a direction nearly parallel to my line. Beyond the morass the ground rose 
with a moderately steep ascent for several hundred yards, and was covered 
with trees and a scattering undergrowth. 

At the command the men moved forward with alacrity, and with increasing 
speed to the brow of the steep declivity referred to. Here the center and left 
regiments found themselves confronted by dense masses of the enemy, some 
of them across the morass and not fifty yards distant, some crossing it, and 
others still beyond. My front rank fired a volley without halting, and the 
whole line bounded forward with their characteristic yell. The enemy were 
evidently taken by surprise. The suddenness of our appearance on the crest, 
the volley, the yell, and the impetuous advance caused them to forget their 
guns. They returned only a scattering fire and immediately gave way. 

While descending the slope, and just before the occurrence mentioned, I 
became aware, from the direction of the balls which passed, that a force of the 
enemy had crossed the morass, ascended the heights and occupied a body of 
woods at the farther limit of the open ground, two hundred yards or more 
beyond my extreme left. I immediately sent an order to Colonel Oates, com- 
manding the Fifteenth regiment, the largest and one of the best in the bri- 


gade, "To change direction in marching" — that is, to wheel his battalion to 
the left while advancing, so as to face the woods — and to attack furiously. No 
further attention was given to the matter until the main line had encountered 
and routed the enemy, and was crossing the swamp. Feeling then that the 
utmost importance attached to the success of Colonel Oates's movement, and 
that the safety of the brigade might be compromised by an advance far to the 
front, while a force of the enemy — I knew not how large — was upon my flank 
and rear, I hastened, almost at full speed, to that part of the field, and came 
in sight just in time to witness the successful execution of one of the most 
brilliant moyements I have ever seen on a battle-field. The order had been 
received amidst the indescribable clangor of battle. The attention of a line 
of men over two hundred yards long had been gained ; they had been wheeled 
through an arc of at least sixty degrees, had traversed the intervening open 
ground, had entered the woods at a charge and were driving its occupants — 
more than twice their number — in the wildest confusion before them ; and but 
little more than five minutes had elapsed since the giving of the order ! 

Colonel Oates says, in writing to me : "I learned from prisoners taken that 
the force I encountered was the Fifteenth New York Regiment, which had 
been stationed at Washington City, and used as heavy siege artillerymen dur- 
ing the greater part of the war, and that they numbered between 1,000 and 
1,200 men. I had in the engagement not over 450 officers and men. I lost 2 
men killed and 11 wounded. I never did understand how it was that I lost so 
few. I always attributed it to two things : First, that the troops of the enemy 
were not veterans — they were unused to battle ; and secondly, the rapidity and 
boldness of my movement, and the accuracy of the fire of my men." 

Feeling now perfectly secure as to my flank, I sent word to Colonel Oates 
to rejoin the brigade, and hastened to the main line. I found that the Forty- 
fourth and Forty-eighth regiments had moved obliquely to the left, where the 
enemy appeared to be in largest numbers, thus producing a considerable gap 
between the former and the Forty-seventh on its right. These two regiments 
had crossed the morass, and were pressing steadily up the hill, firing as they 
advanced. The two right regiments were not in sight. They had obeyed 
orders in keeping closed upon the Plank Road and were there hotly en- 
gaged. * * * 

On returning to the line I first struck the Forty-fourth Alabama, the sec- 
ond regiment in size in the brigade. Colonel Jones had been wounded and 
the command had devolved upon its youthful Major, George W Carey. The 
line was well closed up. The gallantry of Major Carey was very conspic- 
uous, as was usual. His commanding form was in front of the center of his 
line, his countenance ablaze, the flag in his left hand, and his long sword 
waving in his right. Moving to the left I found the Forty-eighth giving evi- 
dent signs of faltering. Many of the men were leaving the ranks and taking 
shelter behind the trees. The fire was severe, but the enemy, being a little 
back of the crest of the hill, sent most of their balls over our heads. At this 
critical moment the gallant Fifteenth appeared upon the left. Colonel Oates, 
finding no enemy in his immediate front, swung his regiment round to the 
right, and delivered a single volley up the line which confronted us, and the 
work was done. The enemy instantly disappeared, and the heights were car- 

The conduct of the officers and men have been above all praise ; but for- 
tune had been very lavish in her favor to us. It was fortunate that the na- 
ture of the ground was such that we burst like a thunder-clap upon the enemy 
and turned them into flight before they had time to inflict any injury or to see 
that there were no supporting lines behind us. It was fortunate that the suc- 
cess of Colonel Oates had been so complete in his movement on the extreme 
right of the enemy; and that the regiments had moved forward in diverging 
lines, thus extending our front so as to equal that of the opposing force. It 


was fortunate that, in ascending the hill beyond the swamp, the men had been 
screened, to a considerable degree, from the enemy's fire by the nature of the 
ground; and, finally, that the Fifteenth Regiment had arrived on the left at 
the crisis of the engagement and delivered its decisive blow. 

After the encounter on the left described by General Perry, I 
reformed the regiment and moved in line of battle across the 
branch and up the hill in a right-oblique direction toward the fir- 
ing. As we were rising the hill, and shots were striking the trees 
overhead, Major Lowther cried out that he was wounded, fell, 
called for help, and was carried or assisted from the field to the 
rear. I understood subsequently that there was a bruise upon one 
of his big toes. However, he remained back with the wagons for 
about three weeks, and until we crossed the North Anna River, 
when I ordered him on duty. 

When my regiment reached the high ground, the Forty-eighth 
Alabama on the left of the brigade was giving way slowly under 
the well-directed volleys which came from Wadsworth's regulars 
in its front, who were firing by rank. I was impressed with the 
regularity and effectiveness of that method of firing. I changed 
direction to the right, and when the regiment had swung around 
sufficiently, I ordered it to fire. One volley in the enemy's flank 
"stopped their racket" and caused them to retreat. They perhaps 
but followed a general movement, for just at this time the whole 
Union left wing staggered backwards ; for the purpose, no doubt, 
of reforming their badly disordered and broken lines. General 
Wadsworth was killed on the Plank Road by the Fourth Ala- 
bama, which doubtless created some confusion. He was a man of 
great prominence in politics, and had been a candidate for Gov- 
ernor of New York. 

All was now still ; not a shot was fired for two hours. An im- 
portant movement had been ordered by Lee. General Perry says : 

It was now nearly o o'clock in the morning. The great struggle was still 
to come. The Federal lines were some distance in front of the Brock Road, 
the most direct route to Spottsylvania Court House and to Richmond. They 
had even taken the precaution to construct upon it a triple line of fortifica- 
tions. Situated as the armies were, it was the obvious policy of each com- 
mander to double back the wing of the opposing force. The success of Gen- 
eral Grant would have opened an unobstructed road to Richmond and might 
have been decisive of the campaign. That of General Lee might have ended 
as did the battle of Chancellorsville a year before. It would at least have in- 
terposed his army between General Grant and his objective point. The arrival 
of Longstreet's corps and Anderson's division defeated the plan of Grant, and 
threw him on the defensive. The effort of General Lee was still to come. 
The plan of attack was made known by officers of the staff to the brigade com- 


manders on the left. It was to throw a force upon the flank and rear of Han- 
cock, and at the same time advance our right and assail his front, so as to roll 
up and press back his entire left wing toward Fredericksburg. Instructions 
were also given that the left brigades conform their movements to those of 
the troops on their right, holding back, however, so as to constitute a sort of 
movable pivot upon which the whole line might wheel. It is evident that the 
successful execution of such a movement would not only have disposed of 
Hancock for the day, but would have thrown a powerful force perpendicular 
to General Grant's center and right wing, already confronted by General Ewell. 
There is a lull all along the line. It is the ominous stillness that precedes 
the tornado. Three brigades under Mahone — a dangerous man — are already in 
position for the flank attack, whose spectre seems to have been haunting Han- 
cock from the beginning. No wonder, it was so near Chancellorsville. A yell 
and a volley announced the opening of the tragedy. The din of battle rolls east- 
ward; the enemy are giving way. It is a moment pregnant with momentous 
results, and to those of us not engaged one of intense anxiety. The left bri- 
gades begin to move forward. Already they have made considerable prog- 
ress ; and still eastward roll the fiery billows of war. Can it be possible that 
we are on the eve of a great victory ? But the fire begins to slacken ; the ad- 
vance movement ceases. What can be the cause? Has that single line of at- 
tack expended its strength? O for a fresh division, to be hurled upon that 
shattered, reeling flank! But no; there are no reserves. Heth has not yet 
reorganized, and Wilcox has moved far to the left to open communication 
with Ewell. The firing ceases, and the victory, almost won, slips from our 

In General Hancock's report of his condition at this moment 
he says that Frank's brigade was swept away ; that Mott's divis- 
ion was thrown into confusion; that he endeavored to restore 
order and reform his line of battle, by throwing back his left so 
as to rest it upon the Brock Road; that he was unable to effect 
this, owing to the disorganization of the troops ; and finally, that 
it was thought advisable to withdraw them and reform behind the 
breastworks. Mr. Swinton says : 

It seemed indeed that irretrievable disaster was upon us; but in the very 
torrent and tempest of the attack of the Confederates it suddenly ceased, and 
all was still; that in the very fury and tempest of the Confederate onset, the 
advance was of a sudden stayed by a cause at the moment unknown. This af- 
terwards proved to have been the fall of the head of the attack. 

Longstreet, with four brigades, was making a circuit around 
the enemy's left, and had pretty well succeeded in reaching his 
rear, where he intended to make a vigorous assault. But the un- 
seen — not the sunken road of O'Hane, but perhaps quite as bad — 
intervened. He and General Jenkins, whose brigade was the 
largest in the army, were riding together in front of their advanc- 
ing lines, when suddenly they came in view of the enemy, turned, 
and riding back through the dense forest, some of their own men, 


mistaking them for enemies, fired on them, killing Jenkins and 
severely wounding Longstreet, which put an end to that move- 
ment. What a striking similarity to that fatality which took 
Stonewall Jackson from us. General Jenkins had been despondent 
of Confederate success for months. When the tide turned he 
congratulated Longstreet and said, "I am happy ; I see success — 
a brilliant victory for us," and fell from his horse dead. 
General Perry says : 

But the evil genius of the South is still hovering over those desolate 
woods. We almost seem to be struggling against destiny itself. Another 
needless mistake, like that which a year before, almost on the same ground, 
had cast "ominous conjecture" upon the success of our cause, now strikes him 
down upon whom, for the time, everything depends. General Longstreet is 
dangerously wounded, and General Jenkins is killed. 

Field was then the only major-general with the corps, and he 
had held that rank but a few weeks and had never before com- 
manded even a division of men in battle. Of course Longstreet's 
fall created much confusion for the time. There was no general 
advance. General Perry, who, some years after the war, was 
Governor of Florida, with a small brigade of Floridians, and Col- 
onel Perry, with Law's brigade, concluded (or had orders, I know 
not which) to make an advance eastward to " feel for the enemy"' 
and see what they could develop. The Colonel introduced me to 
General Perry, and told me the purpose of the movement and that 
it would be made in echelon of battalions at forty paces distance, 
and that my regiment would be on the left, the Forty-eighth Ala- 
bama next, and that I would direct their advance. I informed 
them that there were troops of the enemy to our left, and that as 
soon as my left was uncovered, by passing an elevation in my 
front, I would certainly receive the fire from that direction, and 
gave my reasons for so believing ; one of which was that Lieuten- 
ant Bass, of Company A, my regiment, in charge of the ambu- 
lance men, had gone in that direction and been captured an hour 
previously. They thought, however, that I was probably mis- 

Colonel Perry placed the Forty-eighth Alabama under my com- 
mand and invested me with discretion in case of an attack as I ap- 
prehended. After placing these regiments in position, I directed 
Captain Shaaff to deploy his company as skirmishers, covering 
the left, and to move by the right flank. The forward movement 
began, the Florida brigade leading, my regiment being the last to 


move, and almost simultaneously my skirmishers were fired upon 
by troops of Burnside's corps, which lay in a ravine to our left. 
When we turned the hill, as I had predicted, we caught it. I 
halted, changed front with my two regiments, and threw together 
some logs for a protection before my skirmishers were driven in, 
which was but two or three minutes. On came a long line and 
opened a heavy fire on my command, caught Colonel Perry in the 
act of changing front with the other regiments of the brigade, and 
struck General Perry's brigade squarely in the flank and decimated 
it at once. Major Carey (since the war a commission merchant 
in New York) brought up, most gallantly, the Forty-fourth Ala- 
bama and went into action on my immediate left. Taking advan- 
tage of his arrival, I tried to lead a charge upon the enemy, but 
they were too numerous and the attempt failed. Carey's regi- 
ment, having no protection, was outflanked and driven away. 
Colonel Perry attempted to stop the torrent that was flowing 
around his left by placing the Forty-seventh there, but it was in- 
stantly swept away. Very soon the ammunition of my command 
was nearly exhausted, and the enemy at the same time enveloped 
our flanks while pressing us hard in front. To have remained 
longer would have subjected us to capture ; I therefore ordered a 
retreat, and we had a lively run for three or four hundred yards. 
Of the killed in this engagement, at this late day I remember but 
two — Calvin Whatley and John Stone, of my old company — 
though there were others. I refer to the company reports at the 
end of this volume for the casualties incurred. Several men were 
wounded, but none captured, except Lieutenant Bass, of Com- 
pany A, and two or three of the litter-bearers, who, just after the 
action of the morning, by mistake in direction, walked into the 
Union lines by going too far to the left. 

We halted in an old field and lay down to rest. Very soon 
General Perry came riding up quite slowly Some of the men 
aided him to dismount; he was wounded and bleeding freely 
General Heth's division arrived about this time, engaged and 
drove Burnside's troops back to their former position. Nothing 
more occurred on our part of the field that day. We slept upon our 
arms. The following is the account given of this engagement by 
our brigade commander, Gen. W F. Perry : 

# * * Some time afterwards information was received which strength- 
ened my apprehensions, and caused me to send Colonel Oates in that direc- 
tion with his own and the Forty-eighth Alabama regiments. After 3 o'clock 


I received information which induced the belief that a formidable attack from 
that quarter was impending. I communicated to General Lee the information 
I had received, and began to move the remainder of my brigade in that direc- 
tion. Unfortunately a staff officer, at this juncture, approached and informed 
me that a general advance would begin in a few moments, and instructed me 
to keep well closed upon the brigades in front. This was the attack upon the 
enemy's breastworks in the evening, in which our comrades in arms, Jenkins's 
brigade, bore so conspicuous a part. This order caused me to hesitate in con- 
siderable perplexity as to what I ought to do. At length, the indications 
growing more threatening toward the left, I resolved, without regard to or- 
ders, to make the movement before contemplated. I found Colonel Oates, 
with his two regiments, facing the enemy, and protected by a pile of logs. His 
line was nearly at right angles to that of General Perry, who, I was surprised 
to see, had not changed his front. His left was projecting toward the enemy, 
a hundred yards or more beyond Colonel Oates. The skirmishers were al- 
ready firing. There was a gap between Colonel Oates's right and General 
Perry's line. * * * The part of the Florida brigade which projected to 
the front melted away, the men falling in promiscuously with mine. The fire 
of the enemy was returned with the greatest spirit, and the soldiers exhibited 
a sort of exultant confidence — a feeling which I was far from sharing with 
them. They seemed anxious to charge the enemy. An advance movement 
was actually begun without orders at one time by the Fifteenth, and at an- 
other, I believe, by the Forty-fourth. Captain Terrell returned with the tid- 
ings that reenforcements would soon arrive; but would they be in time? The 
ammunition of the men began to be exhausted. The direction of the firing to 
the left indicated that my worst apprehensions were likely soon to be realized. 
I hastened thither, and arrived in time to find the Forty-seventh doubling 
back and the enemy pouring round its flank. I endeavored to steady and 
reform it with its front so changed as to face them, but they were too near 
at hand and their momentum was too great. Nothing was left us but an in- 
glorious retreat, executed in the shortest possible time and without regard to 
order. It was the first time since its organization — and until it folded its 
colors forever at Appomattox, it was the last — that the brigade ever was bro- 
ken on the battle-field. 

On the afternoon of May 5 Ewell's corps on the left of Lee's 
line and facing east was hotly engaged, and during the fighting 
Brig.-Gen. John B. Gordon, with his brigade of six Georgia regi- 
ments, performed a maneuver which never was written in any 
book of tactics nor recorded in the annals of war. The brigade 
made a rush forward upon the advancing Union line, drove it 
back in his front until his brigade was exactly in line; but the 
Union troops were facing to the west and his line to the east. 
Then if he further advanced they would wheel on his rear and cut 
him off from his friends in the rear ; if he fell back the Union line 
each side of him would give him a converging fire. So the situa- 
tion of the brigade was dangerous and called for immediate 
remedy, and he proved equal to the emergency. He wheeled three 
of his regiments to the right and three to the left, so that their 
backs were to each other, and in this way took right down the 


Union line, each way opening a wide gap in it and capturing many 

That night Gordon's brigade was on the extreme left of Ewell's 
line. During the night an intelligent scout informed Gordon that 
the extreme left of Grant's line in his front was in the air, not 
abutting against any mountain or river, and was without sup- 
ports. Gordon went and investigated for himself, and found it 
true. He reported to General Early, his division commander, 
and asked leave to attack that exposed flank early the following 
morning with another brigade on his left and overlapping the rear 
of the Union line so as to cut off their escape to the rear, and thus 
formed squarely on the flank of the Union line to advance down 
it to the southward. He contended that as his line advanced the 
Confederates would, as his column cleared their front, join in the 
attack. Early declined to order the attack, giving as a reason 
that Burnside's corps was in the rear of the Fifth (Warren's), 
and contended that when Gordon's column attacked, if allowed 
to do so, Burnside would strike it in the flank and destroy it. Gor- 
don denied that Burnside was in support, but to make sure went 
through the woods, making a wide circuit, and found that he was 
not there; returning, he informed Early, who refused to believe 
the report. Then Gordon brought it before General Ewell, who 
hesitated, and would not order the attack over Early's objection. 
That was a defect with General Ewell — he always desired the ap- 
proval of some superior. 

Late that afternoon Lee arrived on that part of the field, heard 
Gordon's statement, and ordered him to attack at once. John- 
son's North Carolina brigade was put on the extreme left and to 
the rear of the Union line, and the attack began about sunset. 
Gordon's men swept right down Warren's line without halting 
until darkness intervened and stopped their advance. Gordon 
captured Brigadier-Generals Shaler and Seymour, nearly all of 
their brigades, and many other prisoners. If Gordon had been 
allowed to make the attack on the morning of the 6th, when he 
desired to do it, he would have swept away the Fifth Corps and 
would have led the advance down the Union line like a resistless 
forest flame, changing the alignments of Ewell's entire corps, and 
then with Longstreet having turned the other flank, the proba- 
bilities were strong that it would have compelled the Union army 
to have recrossed the Rapidan, and it would have been beaten as 
Hooker was a year previously. It was the opinion of that bril- 


liant soldier, General Gordon, that had Early allowed him to at- 
tack on the morning of the 6th, upon which he earnestly insisted, 
that Lee would have won the battle that day, and it was highly 
probable that would have been the result. Another lost oppor- 



The Fifteenth Reaches Spottsylvania Court House None Too Soon — Skirmish- 
ing Lively On the 9th and 10th — The Texans and Bayonets — A Supposed 
Night Attack — An Amusing Example of Predestination — Hancock's Dash 
Before Daybreak of the 12th — Gordon Wins His Commission As a Major- 
General by Marked Gallantry — His Graphic Account of the Affair— The 
Fighting at the Angle. 

The next day, May 7, we occupied the same ground. Our 
lines were straightened and extended and some logs thrown up 
for defense. That night Lee learned that Grant was moving 
southward by his left flank, and he began to move by his right. 
Our progress was slow on account of the crowded condition of the 
inferior road which was being opened through the woods by the 
pioneer corps. Grant could choose his road already constructed; 
Lee had to conform to Grant's movements and march so as to in- 
tercept him. And here let me note the fact that never, during 
that memorable campaign, did Grant, at any point or anywhere, 
drive Lee back or force him to retreat. Not an instance ; not one. 
Lee invariably held the field and Grant would move on by his left, 
until his road was again obstructed by Lee's troops. 

After a most fatiguing night march, on the morning of the 8th 
we were halted for a thirty minutes' rest and to partake of our 
cold, scanty rations, which we relished as a glorious meal. The 
time expired and our march was resumed at a more lively step. 
About 10 o'clock we heard firing to our left and front. One brig- 
ade of infantry, Kershaw's South Carolina, preceded us. They 
had reached the village of Spottsylvania Court House none too 
soon. They took position just in time to meet the first advance 
of the enemy's infantry as they drove our cavalry. General Stu- 
art rode out and met Law's brigade before we reached the village. 
I was ordered with the Fifteenth and Forty-eighth regiments to 
move across to our left and check the advance of the enemy, who 
were coming through the woods to get possession of our road. I 
did so, throwing forward as skirmishers Company A, Captain 























■a H 





Shaaff. It advanced rapidly, and just before reaching the woods 
the skirmishers received the fire of the enemy, and Jep. Brown, 
one of the best private soldiers in the Fifteenth regiment, was shot 
through the heart, but spoke one short sentence, which I distinctly 

I drew in my skirmishers, and on entering the woods became 
hotly engaged with a Pennsylvania brigade commanded by Gen- 
eral Bragg, of Wisconsin, as I have since learned from that gen- 

My two regiments drove the four opposed to them two hundred 
yards, when Bragg was reenforced by his old regiment, the Sixth 
Wisconsin, Colonel Dawes commanding, which forced my line 
back to the crest of a ridge, where I extended right and left to 
confront those opposed to me. Here we received and returned a 
very brisk fire for half an hour, when they retired beyond range. 
Colonel Perry came up during the engagement, and when it ceased 
directed me to retire across a ravine and take up the best defensive 
position I could on the ridge beyond. I did so, and formed line 
of battle behind a little fence, which I had torn down and the rails 
laid along in a pile for the men to lie behind for their protection. 
This was the beginning of the ten miles of defensive works sub- 
sequently constructed by the Confederates upon the field of Spott- 
sylvania Court House. Soon after I got into this position Colonel 
Perry formed the other three regiments of the brigade on my 
right, and Anderson's Georgia brigade formed on my left, the 
Texas brigade on its left, and all the other commands extending 
the line to our right eastwardly. 

Skirmishing was lively all day on the 9th, and also on the 10th. 
On the latter an assault was made in force on our part of the line, 
but repulsed with but slight loss to us and with heavy loss to our 

General Sedgwick, the commander of the Sixth Corps, and 
Brigadier-General Rice were killed. Rice was one of the colonels 
who fought the Fifteenth and Forty-seventh regiments at Gettys- 
burg, and won his spurs as a brigadier by his intrepidity in that 
battle. He fell in front of the Fifteenth and Forty-eighth in this 
engagement. Such is the fate of war. 

The charge on the Texas brigade was for a time partially suc- 
cessful. They did not have any bayonets, and that fact was dis- 
covered by the enemy confronting them, who charged over a por- 
tion of the works; but the Texans, by desperate fighting and 


clubbing their guns, hand-to-hand, drove out their assailants and 
recaptured their line. I never saw that brigade afterwards with- 
out bayonets, and many of the men carried an extra one so as to 
be sure to have at least one on hand for the next fight. Thereto- 
fore they had thrown away their bayonets to avoid carrying them ; 
they had never seen the need of them. Thereafter when passing 
the other brigades of the division the men would yell, "Hello! 
Texas, do you ever carry any bayonets? Have you learned the 
use of them ?" 

When two hostile forces meet in a bayonet charge it is certain 
that one side will yield, and that speedily. If, therefore, one force 
is composed of men all of whom are dead game and will not suc- 
cumb only when dead or disabled, they will every time break the 
force they attack, or whose attack they receive. But no such 
body of men can be found. The nearest approach to it is, accord- 
ing to military writers, to be found among regulars on account of 
the rigidity and thoroughness of discipline; but Lee's army pre- 
sented many instances more nearly approximating that soldierly 
and heroic perfection than any which the American continent has 
ever furnished to history. 

On the occasion referred to, that Texas brigade, without bayo- 
nets, repulsed a bayonet charge of a brigade of Union troops 
which came over the breastworks; but it was a hard hand-to- 
hand battle, and left many broken muskets on the ground as well 
as dead and wounded men. 

There were some cowards in every regiment. The Texans 
were as good as the best. Hood's drilling and training of them 
when he commanded prepared them for heroic feats. He was a 
hard and sometimes reckless fighter. 

On the 8th, however, conclusive proof was furnished that bayo- 
net wounds are less dangerous and much easier cured than gun- 
shot wounds. Quite a number of Kershaw's men were wounded 
with the bayonet. Some were pierced entirely through, yet every 
man of them recovered. I read the surgeon's report on each thus 
wounded. The reason assigned was that a bayonet wound is 
smooth, as if made with a knife, and a gunshot lacerates the flesh. 

We threw up dirt on our rails and piled up logs until only the 
heads of men were exposed. The enemy were similarly en- 
trenched about one hundred and twenty-five steps from us. Sharp- 
shooting was continued, and every hour or two some one was 
killed or wounded. When night came the firing ceased. My 


men had not had a night's sleep since the 4th — six days — and con- 
sequently could not stay awake, except under fire. To prevent a 
surprise I sent Sergeant White, of Company I, with ten of the 
best men, down the slope about fifty yards to stand as videttes. 
I ordered one rank of each regiment and one officer in each com- 
pany to stand in place at the works until relieved by the other rank, 
which should be done alternately every two hours, and those re- 
lieved to lie down in place on the bank near the trench to sleep. 
There was no safety in any less precaution, for a run of one min- 
ute would have brought the enemy on us. Without taking off 
my sword, pistol, or spurs, I wrapped my blanket around me and 
dropped down to sleep. 

During the third watch, soon after midnight — I know not how 
nor from what cause — every man on both sides, Confederate and 
Union, sprang right up from their sleep and went to firing, each 
impressed with the idea, doubtless, that the other was advancing, 
when in fact neither was. I think that all of those standing were 
asleep as well as those lying down, and perhaps some poor fellow 
dreamed that the other side was charging him and fired. One 
shot was enough to start all the others. It extended right and 
left, I knew not how far. The musketry roared as it does in a 
regular engagement, and lighted up the forest as does a continued 
flash of lightning. The first thing I thought of was White and 
his men. I sprang to my feet, but my spurs became entangled in 
my blanket and threw me down twice before I got free from it. I 
dashed along the line, yelling at the top of my voice, "Cease fir- 
ing, men; cease firing! You are killing our own men!" They 
obeyed as soon as they heard me. The firing immediately ceased 
everywhere on both sides. I sent out at once to see about White 
and his videttes. Fortunately none of them were hurt, except 
poor White, who undertook to run in to stop the firing and save 
his men, and coming up in front of the right company of the 
Fifty-ninth Georgia regiment, which slightly overlapped and pro- 
jected a little in front of the left company of the Fifteenth Ala- 
bama, was mistaken by the Georgians for a Yankee and shot 
down within a few feet of their works. I had him brought over 
into the rear of our regiment. I was deeply impressed by the 
patriotic and beautiful manner in which he spoke of his life, his 
services to his country, and at last how hard it was to die at the 
hands of friends. By Captain Strickland he sent a message to 
his company comrades who could not leave their posts to see him. 


He called on me to request Captain Waddell to pray for him. 
After listening to a fervent prayer by a brave and pious officer in 
the darkness of the night and that quiet which prevailed after the 
echoes of the guns had died away, surrounded by a few sorrow- 
ing friends, who knelt beside him where he lay upon the ground, 
the patriotic spirit of one of the bravest and best young men who 
ever marched to the defense of his country from the glorious old 
county of Pike, or elsewhere, departed. Poor White was dead. 
I had marked him for promotion to a lieutenancy for his bravery 
and high soldierly qualities. 

Bryant Wilson, of the same company, was one of the men on 
duty with White. Bryant was a good soldier and an excellent 
citizen. He was a hard-shell Baptist and believed in fate, pre- 
destination, or foreordination, and hence that he could not die 
until the specially appointed time for that event, and that when 
that time came nothing could save him. When the firing began 
that night he was standing at his post, but was asleep. He knew 
not which way to go nor what to do. He said he still had his faith, 
but that the balls were flying so thickly around him that he con- 
cluded to aid the Lord in his preservation by getting behind a tree. 
But when he got there he could not tell which was the Lord's side, 
as the balls seemed to be coming from every direction, hence con- 
cluded that the tree was not the particular instrumentality for his 
preservation on that occasion, but that flat on the ground was the 
chosen spot, so he took that and held it until the firing ceased. 
His faith was consoling on ordinary occasions, but on that occa- 
sion was not on each side of the tree at one and the same time; it 
was foreordained that he should lie on the ground and escape. 

On the nth a heavy body of the enemy appeared west of the 
creek with several batteries and took position, from which they 
threw shells enfilading our lines; but they held it only a short 
time. General Early advanced on them ; they declined battle and 
retired. On the morning of the 12th, before day, Hancock made 
a dash with his corps at Lee's center, opposite the village, sur- 
prised and captured in the trenches Gen. Edward Johnson and 
his division of 5,000 men and 16 pieces of artillery, and rushed 
forward pell-mell into the village. This was a severe blow to 
Lee. He had no reserve except Early's division, then commanded 
by Brig.-Gen. John B. Gordon. It was ordered up. Lee under- 
took to lead it in person. Gordon refused to permit him to do so 
and led the assault himself. Striking Hancock's superior num- 


bers while they were in confusion, before they had time to com- 
pletely reform their lines, he drove them back by desperate fight- 
ing, and recaptured the line of works, with the exception of an 
acute angle, over which the struggle continued for twenty hours. 

There was a hickory tree sixteen inches in diameter, standing 
between the lines, which was cut down by musket balls. A sec- 
tion of it is preserved in the War Department at Washington. 

The Confederate troops held their position. The firing of the 
Federal artillery at the time of Hancock's charge was terrific. A 
numerous battery of twenty-pounder parrot guns played upon the 
Confederate lines just to the west of Johnson's position. I saw 
where the pine trees, cut down by these shells, had covered up the 
Confederates, but they manfully held their works and repulsed 
every assault. Those troops were Kershaw's South Carolinians. 

Heavy fighting occurred all along the lines. An attempt was 
made to charge Law's brigade, but, well fortified with head 
logs, our men but little exposed, and our fire so destructive that 
the enemy could not face it long. Major Campbell, of the Forty- 
seventh Alabama, was the only field officer killed. He exposed 
himself unnecessarily and was shot through the head. Grant's 
losses must have been appalling, and his efforts met with no suc- 
cess, except that of Hancock's, and that amounted to nothing ex- 
cept the prisoners and artillery captured. Lee telegraphed the 
War Department at Richmond to send Gordon a commission as 
major-general, dated that day, May 12, 1864. On that day Lieut. 
Thomas G. Jones, now Judge of the United States District Court 
in Alabama, was on Gordon's staff, and displayed great gallantry. 

General Gordon, who formed the reserve and conducted the 
counter-charge which drove Hancock's veteran corps back and re- 
stored the Confederate line, afterwards rose rapidly to the rank 
of lieutenant-general. In 1903, the last year of his life, he pub- 
lished a book, "Reminiscences of the Civil War," and in that book, 
beginning on page 278, he gives the following graphic, eloquent, 
and thrilling account of that affair : 

General Lee knew, as did every one else who realized the momentous im- 
port of the situation, that the bulk of the Confederate army was in such immi- 
nent peril that nothing could rescue it except a counter-movement, quick, im- 
petuous, and decisive. Lee resolved to save it, and, if need be, to save it at 
the sacrifice of his own life. With perfect self-poise he rode to the margin of 
that breach, and upon the scene just as I had completed the alignment of my 
troops and was in the act of moving in that crucial counter-charge upon which 
so much depended. As he rode majestically in front of my line of battle, 


with uncovered head and mounted on Old Traveler, Lee looked a very god of 
war. Calmly and grandly he rode to a point near the center of my line and 
turned his horse's head to the front, evidently resolved to lead in person the 
desperate charge and drive Hancock back or perish in the effort. I knew 
what he meant ; and although the passing moments were of priceless value, I 
resolved to arrest him in his effort, and thus to save the Confederacy the life 
of its great leader. I was at the center of that line when General Lee rode 
to it. With uncovered head, he turned his face toward Hancock's advancing 
column. Instantly I spurred my horse across Old Traveler's front, and grasp- 
ing his bridle in my hand, I checked him. Then, in a voice which I hoped 
might reach the ears of my men and command their attention, I called out, 
"General Lee, you shall not lead my men in a charge. No man can do that, 
sir. Another is here for that purpose. These fnen behind you are Geor- 
gians, Virginians, and Carolinians. They have never failed you on any field. 
They will not fail you here. Will you, boys?" The response came like a 
mighty' anthem, that must have stirred his emotions as no other music could 
have done. Although the answer to those three words, "Will you, boys?" 
came in the monosyllables, "No, no, no; we'll not fail him," yet they were 
doubtless to him more eloquent because of their simplicity and momentous 
meaning. But his great heart was destined to be quickly cheered by a still 
sublimer testimony of their deathless devotion. As this first thrilling re- 
sponse died away, I uttered the words for which they were now fully pre- 
pared. I shouted to General Lee, "You must go to the rear !" The echo, 
"General Lee to the rear ; General Lee to the rear !" rolled back with tremen- 
dous emphasis from the throats of my men ; and they gathered around him, 
turned his horse in the opposite direction, some clutching his bridle, some his 
stirrups, while others pressed close to Old Traveler's hips, ready to shove 
him by main force to the rear. I verily believe that, had it been necessary or 
possible, they would have carried on their shoulders both horse and rider to 
a place of safety. 

This entire scene, with all its details of wonderful pathos and deep mean- 
ing, had lasted but a few minutes, and yet it was a powerful factor in the res- 
cue of Lee's army. It had lifted these soldiers to the very highest plane of 
martial enthusiasm. The presence of their idolized commander-in-chief, his 
purpose to lead them in person, his magnetic and majestic presence, and the 
spontaneous pledges which they had just made to him, all conspired to fill 
them with an ardor and intensity of emotion such as have rarely possessed 
a body of troops in any war. The most commonplace soldier was uplifted 
and transformed into a veritable Ajax. To say that every man in those bri- 
gades was prepared for the most heroic work or to meet a heroic death would 
be but a lame description of the impulse which seemed to bear them forward 
in wildest transport. Fully realizing the value of such inspiration for the ac- 
complishment of the bloody task assigned them. I turned to my men as Lee 
was forced to the rear, and reminding' them of their pledges to him, and of 
the fact that the eyes of the great leader were still upon them, I ordered, 
"Forward !" With the fury of a cyclone, and almost with its resistless power, 
they rushed upon Hancock's advancing column. With their first terrific on- 
set, the impetuosity of which was indescribable, his leading lines were shiv- 
ered and hurled back upon their stalwart supports. In the inextricable con- 
fusion that followed, and before Hancock's lines could be reformed, every offi- 
cer on horseback in my division, the brigade and regimental commanders, and 
my own superb staff, were riding among the troops, shouting in unison : 
"Forward, men; forward!" But the brave line officers on foot and the en- 
thused privates needed no additional spur to their already rapt spirits. On- 
ward they swept, pouring their rapid volleys into Hancock's confused ranks, 
and swelling the deafening din of battle with their piercing shouts. Like the 
debris in the track of a storm, the dead and dying of both armies were left 


in the wake of the Confederate charge. In the meantime the magnificent 
troops of Ramseur and Rodes were rushing upon Hancock's dissolving corps 
from another point, and long's artillery and other batteries were pouring a 
deadly fire into the broken Federal ranks. Hancock was repulsed and driven 
out. Every foot of the lost salient earthworks was retaken, except that 
small stretch which the Confederate line was too short to cover. 

On pages 284, 285 General Gordon claims that the fighting at 
the angle, in the afternoon and night of the 12th, was the blood- 
iest and most desperate of the war which occurred at any narrow 
point. He says : 

Under my orders, and under cover of the entrenchment, my men began to 
slip to the left a few feet at a time, in order to occupy, unobserved if possible 
that still open space. The ditch along which they slowly glided, and from 
which the earth had been thrown to form the embankment, favored them ; but 
immediately opposite to them and within a few feet of them on the other side 
stood their keen-eyed, alert foemen, holding to their positions with a relent- 
less grip. This noiseless process had not proceeded far before it was discov- 
ered by the watchful men in blue. The discovery was made at the moment 
when Lee and Grant began to hurl their columns against that portion of the 
works held by both. Thus was inaugurated that roll of musketry which is 
likely to remain without a parallel, at least in the length of time it lasted. 

Mounting to the crest of the embankment, the Union men poured upon the 
Confederates a galling fire. To the support of the latter other Confederate 
commands came quickly, crowding into the ditches, clambering up the em- 
bankment's side, and returning volley for volley. Then followed the mighty 
rush from both armies, filling the entire disputed space. Firing into one an- 
other's faces, beating one another down with clubbed muskets, the front ranks 
fought across the embankment's crest almost within an arm's reach, the men 
behind passing up to them freshly loaded rifles as their own were emptied. 
As those in front fell, others quickly sprang forward to take their places. On 
both sides the dead were piled in heaps. As Confederates fell their bodies 
rolled into the ditch, and upon their bleeding forms their living comrades 
stood, beating back Grant's furiously charging columns. The bullets seemed 
to fly in sheets. Before the pelting hail and withering blast the standing 
timber fell. The breastworks were literally drenched in blood. The coming 
of the darkness failed to check the raging battle. It only served to increase 
the awful terror of the scene. 

This day closed the hard fighting at Spottsylvania, it was sup- 
posed, but on the 18th Grant made a last assault on the same 
point with Hancock's and Wright's corps, and was repulsed. 
Each army, however, remained in its position two or three days, 
when Ewell with two divisions of his corps passed around on 
Grant's left to develop the fact of his presence in force, which Lee 
seemed to doubt. The Union troops had only drawn back a short 
distance to rest. Ewell found him, and had a spirited engage- 
ment, with no decisive result. His horse was killed under him 
and fell upon his wooden leg, injuring him. Ewell had never 


fully regained his health after the loss of his leg in August, 1862. 
Grant had dropped back behind his defenses to rest and await the 
arrival of reenforcements. Eight days of almost continuous 
fighting had thinned his ranks and depleted his army General 
Hancock told me after the war the total of casualties in his corps 
during the campaign of 1864 aggregated as many as he had men 
when he crossed the Rapidan, which was 30,000. Of course, a 
large majority of these were wounded merely and returned to duty 
again, but this suffices to show the damage that was being done 
to the Union troops in that memorable campaign. 



On North Anna River — At Ashland — Reenforcements to Lee — Sending Troops 
to the Valley — Death of Colonel Keitt — Battle of Turkey Ridge, or Sec- 
ond Cold Harbor — Beauregard and Butler — Battle of Chester Station — 
At Petersburg — Daily Skirmishing — Parting With the Old Regiment — 
Lowther's Promotion in Regular Line — Interview With President Davis. 

On the evening of the 19th of May Grant was found to be 
moving by his left flank again, this time in the direction of the 
North Anna River, where the Gordonsville and Richmond Rail- 
road crosses it. Lee set his army in motion, and, crossing both 
the North and South Annas, was in line of battle across the road 
south of the latter and ready to receive Grant's advance on the 
22d, which soon after appeared. He crossed a considerable force 
to feel for and develop Lee's position. General Law ordered me 
to place my regiment directly across the railroad — one battalion 
on either side — and on the track a twelve-pounder Napoleon gun 
to fire down the road under my direction. 

Skirmishing began the next morning and continued until a 
late hour in the evening. William Coombs, from Troy, of Com- 
pany I, was killed by a stray shot while sitting in his tent. Some 
few other casualties occurred. I remember that Henry Murfree, 
of Company H, from Dale County, was very badly wounded in 
one hand and arm, which made him a cripple for life. 

Two companies from each of the five regiments of Law's 
brigade were deployed as skirmishers and advanced on each side, 
the piece of artillery firing down the road at the same time, and 
drove everything before them after a very stubborn fight by the 
opposing skirmishers. Some of my skirmishers captured a lieu- 
tenant and a private during the fight, but no valuable information 
could be obtained from them. 

Grant withdrew all his troops to the north side of the river, and 
a day or two thereafter began moving by his left again, and we re- 
sumed the march, halting and going into position every few miles, 


until we reached Ashland or its neighborhood. Here Lee re- 
ceived some reenforcements, I know not how many. I know that 
he received Hoke's division of about 4,000 men, Finnegan's 
Florida brigade about 1,500, and Col. Lawrence M. Keitt's 
regiment from Charleston of 700 or 800 men. He also received 
Breckinridge's division, but orderel it back to the Valley the 
next day, and almost immediately afterwards sent General Early 
with the Second Corps to drive Hunter from the Valley. Keitt 
was killed in action the next day after he arrived. He was 
formerly a member of Congress from South Carolina and figured 
in the Brooks-Sumner embroglio. He won notoriety by en- 
couraging Brooks, until he beat Senator Sumner with a cane 

Other parts of the army were more or less engaged now every 
day, but the Fifteenth was not until the 31st of May. On that 
day I was left with the Fifteenth in what seemed a deserted en- 
trenchment, with instructions to remain and hold it until the 
enemy disappeared from that locality. I was told that they were 
then drawing off and moving on eastward. A piece of artillery 
was also left with me. A line of rifle pits in my front were occu- 
pied by Union sharp-shooters, who kept firing at us, annoying 
us, wounding one or two men, and seemed to have no disposition 
to withdraw. No Confederate troops were in sight. All had 
gone. I fired a few shots at them with the Napoleon gun, but 
could not dislodge them that way. I became impatient at the de- 
lay and annoyance, and ordered Lieut. Pat O'Connor, in 
command of Company K, to deploy his company and charge, 
kill, capture or disperse them. He made a dash and succeeded in 
dispersing them very easily; but Pat — poor, brave fellow — re- 
ceived a mortal wound. His men brought him in and told me that 
his wound was mortal and that he asked for water. I caused a 
canteenful from a cold spring near by to be given him. He 
drank it, gave me his hand, and bade me farewell. He gave me 
his new swordbelt and requested me to send his sword to his 
mother, who lived in Columbus, Georgia, and to tell her that 
he never disgraced it, but died a brave soldier in the discharge of 
his duty to his adopted country. Within a minute more the brave 
and faithful Irishman was dead. I had a grave dug immediately, 
wrapped him in his blanket, and buried him. I got a shingle, had 
his initials, company, and regiment lettered on it, stuck it down 


at the grave, and soon thereafter left the poor brave Pat in the 
lonely bivouac of the dead. 

About this time a very considerable force of the enemy — at least 
a brigade — appeared in my front and began to advance on me. 
Company K, from the rifle pits, and my piece of artillery, opened 
fire on them, which brought them to a halt. They deployed 
quite a number of skirmishers preparatory to an assault. I felt 
that in my isolated position the probabilities of being attacked by 
at least four times my own force placed me in a dilemma. I 
could do nothing but make the best possible defense according to 
my orders. Just at this point I heard a noise in my rear ; I looked 
and beheld Gen. John B. Gordon, with his Georgia brigade, 
coming up in line of battle in splendid style. Gordon was 
the gamest-looking man in battle I ever saw, and he never looked 
more so than on this occasion. He saw a prospect of a lively 
little affair. He ordered his men over the works and forward. 
He stopped a moment to speak with me and then dashed onward, 
but before he got within range the enemy were in full retreat. I 
drew out of the works and moved on as rapidly as I could, and 
just before dark overtook our brigade in a good defensive posi- 
tion, and remained there the next day, during which a drenching 
rain fell. 

On the 2d of June Law was ordered farther down our entrench- 
ed line, with his own and Anderson's Georgia brigade, to Cold 
Harbor, or near it for the purpose of retaking about 300 yards 
of badly constructed Confederate trenches which the enemy had 
succeeded in capturing on General Hoke's left. 

After reaching and inspecting the position I heard Law say to 
General Hoke, "I can recapture the line with Oates's regiment 
alone, but I don't consider it worth the life of a single man. With 
your sanction I will remain behind this hill until night, when I 
will build a new line of works along the ridge there on better 
ground." Hoke agreed, and we lay where we were until night, 
when we were very cautiously and carefully placed in position, 
given tools to dig with, and set to work to construct a line of en- 
trenchment curving southward on a ridge through the open field, 
and our right curving eastward so as to connect the right of 
Anderson's brigade with the left of Hoke's division. 

The Fifteenth went on the left of Law's brigade next to the 
Thirteenth Mississippi Regiment of Barksdale's old brigade, then 
commanded, I believe, by General Humphreys. My left therefore 


rested on the old line of works which the Confederates had 
abandoned. About one o'clock I went to Law and requested a 
piece of artillery to place in this angle. He so ordered and it 
came just before day. I placed it in barbette so that it could 
be wheeled around and fired to enfilade the old works and rake 
both fronts from the angle at will. Law ordered me to cover the 
front of the brigade, before daylight, with skirmishers from my 
regiment. I sent out Capt. N. B. Feagin with his Company B, 
under the command of Major Lowther. He said that he was sick. 
and asked to be excused, which I declined to grant, as he had no 
certificate from the surgeon. 

None of us had slept any. The men worked all night and by 
day had an excellent line of defensive works completed. When 
day came details were sent to the rear to fill the canteens at a bold 
spring of pure water. They had returned, and, just before I could 
see the sun, I heard a volley in the woods, saw the major running 
up the ravine in the direction of Anderson's brigade, which lay to 
the right of Law's, and the skirmishers running in, pursued by a 
column of the enemy ten lines deep, with arms at a trail, and 
yelling "Huzzah ! huzzah !" I ordered my men to take arms and 
fix bayonets. Just then I remembered that not a gun in the 
regiment was loaded. I ordered the men to load and the officers 
each to take an ax and stand to the works. I was apprehensive 
that the enemy would be on our works before the men could load. 

As Capt. Noah B. Feagin and his skirmishers crawled over 
the works I thought of my piece of artillery. I called out: 
"Sergeant, give them double charges of canister ; fire, men ; fire f" 
the order was obeyed with alacrity. The enemy were within 
thirty steps. They halted and began to dodge, lie down, and re- 
coil. The fire was terrific from my regiment, the Fourth Alabama 
on my immediate right, and the Thirteenth Mississippi on my left, 
while the piece of artillery was fired more rapidly and better 
handled than I ever saw one before or since. The blaze of fire 
from it at each shot went right into the ranks of our assailants and 
made frightful gaps through the dense mass of men. They en- 
dured it but for one or two minutes, when they retreated, leav- 
ing the ground covered with their dead and dying. There were 3 
men in my regiment killed, 5 wounded. My piece of artillery 
kept up a lively fire on the enemy where they halted in the 
woods, with shrapnel shell. After the lapse of about forty 
minutes another charge was made by the Twenty-third and 


Twenty-fifth Massachusetts regiments, in a column by divisions, 
thus presenting a front of two companies only. Bryan's Georgia 
brigade came up from the rear and lay down behind Law's. The 
charging column, which aimed to strike the Fourth Alabama, 
received the most destructive fire I ever saw. They were sub- 
jected to a front and flank fire from the infantry, at short range, 
while my piece of artillery poured double charges of canister into 
them. The Georgians loaded for the Alabamians to fire. I 
could see the dust fog out of a man's clothing in two or three 
places at once where as many balls would strike him at the same 
moment. In two minutes not a man of them was standing. All 
who were not shot down had lain down for protection. One 
little fellow raised his head to look, and I ordered him to come in. 
He came on a run, the Yankees over in the woods firing at him 
every step of the way, and as he climbed over our works one shot 
took effect in one of his legs. They evidently took him to be a de- 
serter. I learned from him that there were many more out there 
who were not wounded. This I communicated to Colonel Perry, 
who was again in command, General Law having been wounded 
in the head during the first assault ; and thereupon Perry sent a 
company down a ravine on our right to capture them ; they soon 
brought the colonel who led the charge, and about one hun- 
dred other prisoners. The colonel was a brave man. He said 
he had been in many places, but that was the worst. 

This closed their efforts against us on this field for the re- 
mainder of that day. The following night they constructed works 
along the edge of the woods and sharpshooting became incessant. 
The next day a white flag was displayed and firing was sus- 
pended. A Union officer came half-way and met a Confederate 
staff officer, with a request from Maior-General Ausrur for an 
armistice for six hours with permission to bury the dead. It was 
sent to General Lee, who returned it, saying that he did not know 
General Augur as commander of the Army of the Potomac. 

Sharp-shooting was resumed. The stench from the dead be- 
tween our lines and theirs was sickening. It was so nauseating 
that it was almost unendurable ; but we had the advantage, as the 
wind carried it away from us to them. The dead covered more 
than five acres of ground about as thickly as they could be laid. 
A half hour elapsed, when another white flae was displaved and 
another request came for an armistice for six hours, with per- 
mission to bury the dead in front of our lines, signed this time by 


General Grant. Lee acceded to the request and hostilities ceased 
for the six hours. They sent a heavy detail upon the field, and 
when the time expired they had to get it extended in order to 
finish burying, although they worked rapidly the whole time. 
I have no means of knowing the exact number of bodies buried, 
but from appearances there could not have been less than five or 
six hundred, and may have been a much greater number. They 
belonged to Baldy Smith's corps. 

Sharp-shooting was again resumed and kept up continuously. 
Quite a number of casualties occurred daily. Every evening they 
made an assault on Hoke's division, in which my piece of artillery 
took a lively interest and had an enfilading fire on them with solid 
twelve pound shots. Grant finally moved on by his left until he 
crossed the James River at Bermuda Hundred, where Ben Butler, 
with his army, had been bottled up by Beauregard ever since he so 
narrowly escaped capture. Beauregard's plan was for General 
Whiting to move from Petersburg down the north side of the river 
and to demonstrate an attack on Butler, attract his attention and 
reenforcements from his right on the James, when Beauregard 
would turn his right flank, get between him and the river, cut 
him off from his gunboats, and capture him and his army. It was 
a well-devised scheme and would have succeeded, but Whiting 
failed to make the attack, as directed, which barely prevented 
the success of the venture. Another lost opportunity. Whiting's 
failure was attributed to his unfortunate habit of intemperance. 

Some rest was obtained while we were on and near the James 
awaiting Grant's further movements. A small garrison of regular 
troops held the fortifications around Petersburg, supported by the 
local militia. Lee, finding that Grant had crossed his army to the 
south side, transferred a portion of his to the south side of the 
James also, between Richmond and Petersburg. 

These were the positions of the two armies when Grant caused a 
dash to be made at Petersburg with a heavy force. Beauregard 
was there, and with the small force he had, the militia, composed 
of the old men and boys of the town, he manned the forts, made 
a stubborn resistance, and held out until reenforcements from 
Lee reached him, when he completely repulsed the assault. Both 
armies were now rapidly concentrated at Petersburg. Field's di- 
vision on its way there — the advance of Longstreet's or the First 
Corps, now commanded by Lieut-Gen. Richard H. Anderson — 
came upon a force of the enemy on the Richmond Wire Road, cut- 


ting down telegraph poles. Law's and the Texas brigades at- 
tacked and drove them, Anderson's and Benning's brigades con- 
stituting a second line in support, and Pickett's division extend- 
ing the line to the left. We had no difficulty in driving them from 
their first line of entrenchments. There was some hesitation 
about attacking the second line. I rode up on a little hill where 
General G. T Anderson, of Georgia, was, and was conversing 
with him about it when we heard the noise, and looking, be- 
held the Texas Brigade starting in the charge. They pressed 
forward in an irregular mass in a run and not led by any 
one, unless by some mere company officer. But they kept 
agoing until they reached the works, and went in, when all the 
other commands, right and left, followed the example, and the 
second line was ours. To the Texans solely belonged the honor 
of capturing that line, although the Richmond newspapers of the 
next day gave all the credit to Pickett's division. They were 
Virginians, and the papers were doubtless misinformed. 

The enemy made a stand in their third line of entrenchments 
and kept up a lively sharp-shooting all the evening. A charge 
upon this line, I learned, was in contemplation ; but the attack on 
Petersburg and the heavy firing in that direction caused General 
Anderson to hesitate and remain where he then was with two 
divisions, while the other was hurried forward to Petersburg. 
During the firing that evening Capt. George A. C. Matthews, 
from Brundridge, in Pike County, was severely wounded, from 
which he suffered for ten years after the war, and which at last 
proved fatal. He was a good and brave soldier. 

The next day we moved on Petersburg and took our places 
in the fortified line. We were changed, from time to time, from 
one point to another. At one time the Fifteenth was in the 
trenches, and aided in their construction exactly where the mine 
explosion subsequently occurred. Four or five days before that 
event we were withdrawn and sent with our division to the north 
side of the James River. In the month of July, however, and 
before the regiment left Petersburg, I parted company with it 

About the middle of May, 1863, as previously stated, I was 
commissioned a colonel in the Provisional Army of the Con- 
federate States and assigned to the command of the Fifteenth 
Alabama Regiment. Feagin was made a lieutenant-colonel, to 
which he was entitled in the regular line of promotion anyway, 



as the regiment then had but one field officer — Major Lowther. 
If he had been at his post and discharging his duties only one-half 
his time, he would, in April, 1863, when Treutlin resigned, have 
been promoted to the colonelcy in the regular line, though he 
never was entitled — either in law, equity, or fairness — to any- 
thing of the kind. He was always an imposition, as the facts 
hereinbefore related show. But had he been at his post doing his 
duty he would have been made colonel; Feagin, lieutenant- 
colonel; and myself major, a position I would have received 
early in 1862 had the regiment been allowed to hold an election. 
After I was made colonel and assigned to the command, Lowther 
went to work in every way that he could to get the regiment 
away from me. He succeeded in getting to the hospital in 
Richmond, when he ran out ahead of the skirmishers, on the 
morning of the 3d of June, and there he worked on the politicians, 
among whom he had several acquaintances, until, when I saw 
him again nearly two months afterwards, he came to me at Peters- 
burg with his commission as colonel of the regiment, and an order 
to me to surrender the command of it to him. I did so, of 
course, but with deep regret at having to leave the men whom I 
had commanded in more than twenty battles. I had confidence 
in them and they had like faith in me. Some of them swore that 
they would desert — rather than serve under Lowther. Many 
of them kept their word and deserted soon afterwards, though I 
tried to dissuade them from so doing. I do not say that any one 
deserted because he had to serve under Colonel Lowther, except 
David Cannon, who told me after the war that was the reason 
he deserted ; nor do I pretend to say that any man deserted be- 
cause I left the regiment. But the change was very much opposed 
by many of the soldiers, and this, together with the waning 
fortunes of the Confederacy, which most of the private soldiers 
could see quite as well as the officers, gave rise to a feeling of 
disappointment and despondency that they were sacrificing them- 
selves unnecessarily, and for these reasons a good many deserted 
during the ensuing fall and winter They deserted for the 
double purpose of getting out of that regiment as then com- 
manded, and to get out of the, service altogether as well. 

I could have claimed my promotion in the regular line to the 
majority of the regiment; but I was not willing to surrender 
my commission as colonel, and accept that of major under 
Lowther, whom I knew to be incompetent to command from a 


constitutional defect. I preferred to retain my commission and to 
be assigned elsewhere. My regret was to part with the men 
with whom I had served all through the war. 

I went to see General Lee about it and he gave me a pass and 
suggested that I see President Davis in regard to the matter. I 
went to see him. He received me very respectfully. I laid my 
case before him. He sent a messenger to the Adjutant-General's 
Office for information, and remarked to me that if it were in his 
power he would restore the regiment to my command. The 
answer was returned that Lowther had his commission and it had 
been confirmed by the Senate. Davis replied, "I am sorry to 
say, sir, that he is beyond my reach; I have no power over the 
matter." He asked me if I would not be willing to be assigned to 
the command of some other regiment. I replied in the affirma- 
tive. He said that he would so direct, and commended me for 
the faithfulness with which I was serving the country, and with 
this my only interview with Jefferson Davis closed. 

My connection with the old regiment also ceased. I was never 
more immediately connected with it, but am pretty familiar with 
its history, even on to the surrender at Appomattox. 



I Am Assigned to Command of Forty-eighth Alabama — Refitting the Regi- 
ment—Ordered to New Market Heights— The Shell Fire From Gun- 
boats—Battle Near Fussell's Mill, on the Darbytown Road— I Lose My 
Right Arm— The Regiment Terribly Decimated— The "Fortykins" and 
Their Prisoners— They Win Imperishable Honors— Hospital Experiences. 

The next day after my interview with President Davis I was 
assigned to the command of the Forty-eighth Alabama regiment. 
The former colonel, my old friend James L. Sheffield, had re- 
signed, and the only other field officer was Maj. Wm. M. Hard- 
wick, who was then a prisoner of war. He was afterwards ex- 
changed, promoted to lieutenant-colonel, and now resides at Hard- 
wicksburg, in Henry County, Alabama. 

I went down and found the brigade on the north side of the 
James. The Forty-eighth was raised in north Alabama, and 
composed mainly of mountaineers, tough and tireless, and hence 
good material for soldiers, if properly handled. Its discipline 
was not very good, its equipment inferior, with every appearance 
of neglect. It was under command of a captain, and no field offi- 
cer had been in immediate command of it subsequent to the battle 
of Chickamauga. I at once ascertained what was needed, made 
requisitions, and obtained clothing, accoutrements, and every- 
thing that was to be had, essential to the comfort of officers and 
men, and whatever was calculated to increase their efficiency as 
soldiers. I ordered inspection, company and battalion drill every 
day, until very soon their arms were bright, their clothing and ac- 
coutrements properly fitted and adjusted, and the regiment pre- 
senting a very soldierly appearance. One day I took two empty 
regimental wagons up to Richmond, and at my own expense 
loaded them with watermelons and sent them as a treat to the regi- 
ment. When the wagons arrived the men of my old as well as 
those of my present regiment gathered around them, their mouths 
watering for some of the fruit. While I disliked to deny my old 


comrades, I was obliged to do it, as I did not have enough for 
both regiments. I soon had the good will and confidence of every 
officer and man in the Forty-eighth, more completely, if possible, 
than I ever had of the Fifteenth. 

On the morning of the 13th of August our rest terminated and 
these two regiments were ordered into some works at New Mar- 
ket Heights, a high bluff on the James some two miles below 
Drewry's Bluff, where the obstructions and heavy guns were loca- 
ted. In front of our position was what was called "Deep Bottom." 
We lay here under the fire of a gunboat, during the 14th and 15th, 
in the hot sun, without a particle of shade. The boat threw shells 
weighing 120 pounds, which would go right through our breast- 
works and explode away down in the ground, throwing barrels 
of dirt, rocks, and pieces of the shell high into the air, to rain 
back on us. Two or three of my men were killed and some dis- 
abled. I saw a lieutenant covered up completely, but his men, 
with shovels, dug him out in less than a minute. He was nearly 
smothered. The poor fellow was killed in battle the next day. 
A great many of the company officers, whose places were in the 
rear of the men, when they found that I would not allow them to 
crowd into the ditch with the men, dug holes for their protection. 
The men would watch the boat, and when they saw the puff of 
white smoke, which they always did before the shell arrived, they 
would yell "Lookout !" and all lie down. 

One day I was sitting by a little tree, the only one in rear of the 
line, near one of those holes. General Gregg, of Texas, and Col- 
onel Perry came up, and were amazed at the way the shells had 
plowed up the ground, when the boat let off a jet of steam and 
some of the men, in a spirit of fun, cried "Lookout!" when both 
of those officers in an instant tumbled into that hole, by which 
Colonel Perry sprained an ankle and got a furlough. Gregg was 
killed a few days after, and was complimented in orders from 
headquarters for his great gallantry on all occasions. 

An attempt was made on both days to advance a body of the 
enemy's infantry, supported by the boat, against my position ; but 
the accuracy of the fire of a rifle gun belonging to Hardaway's 
battery drove them back into the woods. On the morning of the 
1 6th of August Hancock made an assault upon the Confederate 
lines near Fussell's Mill, on the Darbytown Road, and broke 
through. General Sanders, of Alabama, was killed and his brigade 


driven away ;* so too were the brigades of Anderson, of Georgia, 
and Lane, of North Carolina (General Lane is now a citizen of 
Alabama and one of the professors in the A. and M. College at 
Auburn), and Gary's South Carolina cavalry driven from posi- 
tion and many of them dispersed through the woods. 

Hancock was moving slowly but steadily forward. I was or- 
dered over there to check the advance. We moved rapidly. I 
was on foot, having sent my horse to the rear out of reach of the 
shells. When we reached the Darbytown Road, or near it, we 
were just in front of the Confederate line of forts and entrench- 
ments which extended northward from Drewry's Bluff, the point 
at which the James River was obstructed and defended by our 
heaviest guns. These forts and entrenchments were unoccupied. 
I knew that if Hancock's corps got into these it would be very 
difficult to get them out and would put the city of Richmond in 
peril. I found General Anderson, and reported to him. He told 
me that his brigade had been knocked to pieces, except a few men 
of the Eighth Georgia, who were still firing from a piece of woods 
some distance north of where he then was. I asked him for or- 
ders, as I had not received any except through a courier, to go up 
there and check, if possible, the enemy's advance. He said, "Well, 
if you think that you can do anything with them, just go tearing 
at them," and pointed to a line of battle nearly a mile long, with 
heavy supports in the rear, moving steadily toward us through a 
large field. The left of this line was nearly opposite to us and 
the right of it extended into the woods farther than I could see. 
Our regiments were marching left in front. I counter-marched 
and gave the command, "Forward, right-oblique, march !" Col- 
onel Lowther, who was present with his regiment, repeated my 
command, and his regiment conformed to it. We marched 
through the woods about one hundred and fifty yards, when we 
came to a little old rail fence at the edge of the field, where we 
confronted the enemy's left, slightly overlapping him in conse- 
quence of the right-oblique movement which I had resorted to for 
the purpose. 

We were not fifty steps apart when both lines opened a terrific 
fire. Colonel Lowther was wounded in the side, and retired, 
leaving in command of the Fifteenth Capt. Blant Hill, who within 

*Since writing the above I have learned that Gen. Sanders was killed sev- 
eral days later near Petersburg. 


a few minutes was also wounded, from which he died in an offi- 
cers' hospital in Richmond several days subsequently. 

Captain Shaaff then succeeded to the command of that regi- 
ment. Captain Strickland received a severe wound. Just as he 
was pointing with his left hand, showing one of his men where to 
aim, a ball struck between his little finger and the one next to it, 
and coming out at his wrist cut off the lower half of his left ear 
and all that side of his hat brim. He was in the hospital with me 
and suffered a great deal with that hand. 

Several were killed, and many ghastly wounds were inflicted on 
the Fifteenth, which manfully held its position at the fence. I 
made the Forty-eighth get over the fence and boldly charge 
against the enemy's flank, overlapping and enfilading their line, 
and consequently drove it back about two hundred yards. But this 
was at a fearful sacrifice of life. It was necessary, however, in 
order to check Hancock's advance. I was ordered there for that 
purpose ; I knew the importance of it, and resolved to do my duty 
at all hazards. General Anderson (who became a citizen of Annis- 
ton, Alabama, after the war, and died in 1901) did not believe 
that I could accomplish anything, and hence declined to order me 
to attack. To have gotten in the forts and entrenchments and 
awaited the advance of the enemy would not have been effective. 
It would have been a compliance with the letter of the order I re- 
ceived, but not with the spirit of it, as we would soon have been 
overpowered and captured. I decided instantly on a bold attack, 
and it succeeded in checking their advance until other troops ar- 
rived, which saved the position to the Confederates. 

General Hancock told me in 1868 that if he had known at the 
time that the attacking party consisted of only two small regi- 
ments he would have made my personal acquaintance then, for he 
would have captured all of us and have pushed on toward Rich- 
mond ; but that he was apprehensive that there was a heavy force 
behind us in the woods, which was the reason for the vigorous 
shelling by his artillery. 

Some of my men fell dead or horribly wounded at every step, 
but the brave fellows ("Fortykins," the Fifteenth and Fourth 
Alabama men used to call them) pressed forward, driving their 
enemy until a trench, which had been made by a farmer to turn 
the water on the hill side, had been reached. I ordered them to 
sit down in that and fire across the valley in our front, at the en- 
emy on the opposite hill less than one hundred yards distant. 


Every officer in the five left companies had been killed or disabled. 
I was standing just in rear of them with an oilcloth on my left 
arm and my sword in my right hand, when I caught a good long 
furlough. A ball passed through the oilcloth between my left arm 
and my body. Some of my men called out to me, "Colonel, get 
down in here with us; they will kill you." A moment later a ball 
struck me in my right arm, midway between the elbow and 
shoulder, breaking it in two, shivering and splintering the bone 
down to the elbow and upwards to within two inches of the shoul- 
der joint. It struck with such force that it turned me half around 
and stunned me. I stepped to and leaned against a little apple tree. 
I was in great pain. One of those large Minie-balls strikes a hard 
blow. When it struck me my sword fell upon the ground, and my 
good right arm, mangled, hung down by my side. I beckoned to 
Lieut. Joe Hardwick, who came to me. I told him that I had lost 
my arm; to tell Captain Wiggenton to take command and to 
charge the enemy. I saw this done and as the attenuated line of 
"Fortykins" rose the hill on the other side a stream of prisoners 
whose splendid blue uniforms shone brightly in the sun in contrast 
with the dusty butternut jeans-clothes of the "Fortykins," ran past 
me to our rear, in greater numbers than their gallant captors, who 
pressed forward under the lead of the brave Wiggenton until they 
reached the crest, where I saw him fall and thought he was killed. 
A number of his men went down under the heavy fire encoun- 
tered. Then the survivors were rolled backward down the hill, 
across the ravine, and up the slope, but halted at the old trench, 
where I stood until they halted and again occupied the ditch, and 
then I left them. The prisoners referred to had lain down in the 
tall grass of the ravine to avoid our fire, and when the regiment 
charged it ran over them ; they threw down their arms and made 
for our rear. They were tired of war, and preferred a Confed- 
erate prison to being shot at. They were like the Irishman whom 
his general halted as he was fleeing from the field during the prog- 
ress of the battle. The general upbraided and abused him for his 
cowardly conduct, when Pat responded, "Ah ! Gin'ral, I had rither 
be a coward for the nixt two or three hours than to be a corpse 
all the rist o' me life." And yet there are demagogues in Con- 
gress who want the Government to give these prisoners a pension 
of two dollars per day for all the time they were held as prisoners 
of war. 


The Forty-eighth regiment won imperishable honors on that 
day. No men, in any battle of the world, ever fought more he- 
roically, on any field, than did the officers and men of that regi- 
ment near the Darbytown Road, August 16, 1864. It went into 
the fight about 300 strong, with some 15 officers. It came out 
with but 51 men and 3 officers unhurt, and none of them were 
captured. The State ought to erect a monument inscribed, "To 
the Forty-eighth Alabama Regiment, Darbytown Road, Virginia, 
August 16, 1864, where it lost five-sixths of its men and four- 
fifths of its officers, and captured more prisoners than its total 
number present, and did not lose a prisoner." 

The Fifteenth fought well and lost heavily in killed and wound- 
ed, but no prisoners. 

I walked out to the woods, the balls flying around me, and giv- 
ing me a lively apprehension that I might be shot in the back. 
There I found General Anderson, who dismounted one of his 
couriers and ordered him to aid me in mounting the horse. I 
started to ride to the rear, but soon found that I could not endure 
the pain it caused me. I dismounted, lay down in the shade, and 
dismissed the courier. After a few moments' rest I rose and pro- 
ceeded alone a short distance, when I met Major-General Field, 
who stopped, expressed his regrets at my misfortune, and then 
asked the situation. I described it to him. Just then the bri- 
gades of Bratton and Benning came up in double-quick and went 
on into action. I then stopped and sat down in the shade of a tree. 
It was a very hot day, about 1 or 2 o'clock P M., and my strength 
was nearly exhausted from the heat and fatigue of battle as well 
as the loss of blood. A little assistant surgeon of some Georgia 
regiment came along, gave me a little morphine, and was proceed- 
ing to bind up my shattered arm, when a shell struck the ground 
within a few feet of us and threw the dirt on and around us. He 
fled at a lively speed, and I uttered a short prayer (?) in his be- 
half as he departed. I was left alone for a short time, when two 
of the Fifteenth Alabama ambulance corps came to me. They 
did not have any litter or stretcher, and while they were debating 
the question as to how they could remove me, one remarked, 
"Look at the Yankees; we are gone up!" I looked and recog- 
nized a sergeant of the Forty-eighth in charge of about 250 pris- 
oners, the same who ran to the rear when Wiggenton charged, as 
I have already described. I had them marched up, and told one 
to take off his blanket, which was rolled around his shoulders, and 


put me on it, and for six of them to take hold of it and carry me 
to the rear. They promptly obeyed. One of them gave me a 
canteen nearly full of whiskey, the very thing I most needed, as I 
was getting sick and very weak from loss of blood. They carried 
me about two miles in that blanket. While making the trip 1 
drank all the whiskey, and without which I think that I should 
have fainted. It seemed to me the best I ever tasted. It was as 
delicious and cheering to me as to the old toper who, being 
"strapped" and unable to buy a drink, was sitting in front of a 
barroom longing and praying for a few more "drapths of the 
blessed crather," when a gentleman stepped in and called for a 
drink. Observing the disconsolate and hungry look of this son 
of Erin, he said, "Old man, come and take a drink." Thereupon 
the old fellow turned his eyes heavenward a moment, and then on 
the gentleman, and exclaimed, "Upon me soul, I th'ot it was an 
angel sp'aking to me !" 

We met an ambulance, which took me to the field infirmary, 
where Surgeons Hudson, Burton, and Watkins were operating on 
the wounded. About one acre of ground was covered with the 
wounded and dying from those two regiments. 

The doctors when about to administer the chloroform asked me 
if, after examining my wound, they should let me from under the 
influence and consult with me. I told them no; that I believed 
my arm would have to be amputated, but to do whatever they 
deemed best; that I had full confidence in them. I never had 
taken chloroform before, and I am satisfied the experience is very 
much like that of death. I knew what was being done when they 
sawed the bone; I heard it, but did not feel it. I awoke about 
sunset, lying at the foot of a tree on the ground, with the knap- 
sack of old Jimmy Morris under my head. The old man was sit- 
ting by me crying ; he thought I was dying. He at once inquired 
what he could do for me. I told him to go to Doctor Hudson and 
get me a good big drink of whiskey. He soon brought it, but it 
was not as large as I wanted. I drank it, and then requested him 
to write for me, which he did, and I dictated a letter to my father 
and mother, informing them that an hour before I had suffered 
the amputation of my right arm, but was doing well. A man 
came to me with my arm in his hand, a mournful expression on 
his face, and asked me what he should do with it. I told him that 
I did not care, as it was no longer of any service to me, but that 
he had better dig a hole and bury it. He did so, just on the oppo- 


site side of the tree under which I lay. I was not in any pain and 
went to sleep and slept soundly until daylight the next morning, 
with one exception. There were groans and lamentations all 
around me, but one quite near was so loud that it awoke me. I 
was offended at being awakened from a sweet sleep, and inquired, 
"Who in the Devil is that making such loud complaints ?" He 
spoke at once, saying, "Colonel, it is Wiggenton. I am shot 
through the thigh, a most painful flesh wound." I consoled him 
by drawing a comparison between my condition and his — I with 
my right arm gone and he only with a flesh wound through the 
thigh ; he would get a furlough and go home just about the time I 
would be at the most critical period. I said to him, "Why, Cap- 
tain, I saw you fall and was sure that you were killed. Instead 
of groaning and complaining, you ought to be rejoicing that you 
are alive !" 

The next morning Wiggenton and myself were placed in an 
ambulance, and were followed by a long train of ambulances con- 
taining officers alone from the two regiments, and behind us a still 
longer train containing wounded soldiers. I and nearly all the 
officers went to Howard's Grove, which was in charge of Doctor 
Gaston, of Montgomery, Alabama, and all recovered except Cap- 
tain Hill, of the Fifteenth Regiment, who went to the officers' hos- 
pital down town because he said it was visited by the ladies. He 
died of pyaemia. 

Captain Strickland and myself had beds together in the same 
ward, and a more mischievous, mirthful, and companionable man 
I never saw. He was the man I needed near, to cheer me and 
divert my mind from brooding over my great loss. I was a young 
man of fine physical strength and activity, and to be so impaired 
by the loss of my right arm made me despondent and at times to 
feel a regret that I had not been killed. Strickland dispelled my 
gloom. The stewardess, who doled out the whiskey every even- 
ing to the badly wounded, was an old maid from North Carolina. 
The Captain was very fond of a drink, got up a courtship with 
the stewardess, and engaged to marry her for no other purpose 
than to obtain extra allowances of whiskey. His remedy was 
quite effective. But he carried it so far that as soon as he was 
able to walk around she insisted on having the marriage cele- 
brated, so that it called out his inventive powers to avoid it. He 
told her to go down to her home in the good old "Tar heel" State, 
and he would come down and have a grand wedding. She hurried 


off home, but the Captain did not show up. He was a general 
tease and mischief-maker. 

There was a captain who came to the hospital sick. He was a 
green mountaineer, and Strickland teased that man until he 
begged his surgeon to move him to the lower end of the ward to 
avoid Strickland. We ate on a table between our beds. Each 
had but one hand, and we could aid each other. One morning 
when breakfast was late and I was hungry, they brought me two 
boiled eggs on the same tin plate with my hash. I had been ad- 
monishing him to abandon his wickedness and that we should 
each be more pious and better than we had been. Just then I took 
up the knife and chopped one of the eggs, which was bad, and it 
spread over the plate and ruined my breakfast. I swore at the 
mishap. Strickland yelled with laughter. I dropped back in the 
bed and began filling my pipe. He shouted, "Lost your religion, 
Colonel, at the first fire." Being really provoked, I replied, "Well, 

I don't care, it was a d d poor breakfast anyway." He roared 

with laughter, and teased me about that ever afterwards. 

My arm healed by first intention, and in two weeks I thought I 
was nearly well ; but suppuration continued within, and my stump 
had to be split open to allow the pus to escape and thus avoid the 
danger of pyaemia. 

Wm. J. Defnall, of my old company, the best wrestler and the 
most powerful man physically in the regiment, was carrying the 
colors of the Fifteenth that day In the charge which was made 
that afternoon, when General Field, with Benning's, Bratton's. 
and Law's brigades drove back Hancock's corps and recaptured 
our entrenchments he had taken that morning, Defnall's right 
arm was jerked off at the shoulder joint and carried away by a 
shell. No trace of the arm could ever be found. He came to see 
me about a week or ten days after, and said he was almost well. 
During our conversation I wanted some fresh water, and he took 
a bucket, against my objection and remonstrance, and brought it. 
I told him that he had better be careful. He laughed and replied, 
"Why, Colonel, I am going home next week." The next day I 
was informed that he had secondary hemorrhage and was dying. 
A half hour later he was dead. 

Just three weeks after I was wounded, one night when all the 
doctors, except Joseph A. Mudd, were down in the city at a ball, 
or some entertainment, the ligature sloughed off the subclavian 
artery and the blood poured out of me in a sluice. I sank very 


rapidly. Doctor Mudd got to me, seized my shoulder, and 
stopped it. My bed was flooded with blood. I saw death close 
at hand. My whole life passed rapidly before me in panorama, 
and while I felt a regret that I had not been a better man, yet I 
was not afraid to die, but preferred to live. It was a very con- 
soling thought that I had never committed any great crime. I 
scarcely had a hope of living through the night. I felt that if I 
recovered I would live a better and more thoughtful life. Doctor 
Mudd held my life in his hands until the other surgeons were sent 
for and arrived. I was too low to speak. The doctors and those 
about me thought I did not notice what they said, but I heard and 
understood everything. Nearly all of them advised Doctor Gas- 
ton to cut in and ligate the artery again, as the only chance. He 
said, "I am afraid that he might sink under the operation ; he is a 
good young man and fine officer, and I want to save him if possi- 
ble." One replied, "He will die anyhow ; you had as well try it." 
Gaston said that he would try compression. No one agreed with 
him, who gave any opinion ; but he laid off his coat, went to work, 
and succeeded. His compress on the artery held in the blood. 
He would not allow me to be moved, and kept me on the bloody 
bed for one entire day. When I was moved then, it was simply 
by raising me on strips of cloth until they could run the bed out 
from under me and put another one in its place. I soon began to 
improve, and so continued until I was able to go home in No- 

In 1895, when I was Governor of Alabama, the office of Probate 
Judge of Montgomery County became vacant, and I had to ap- 
point a judge for the unexpired term. Many lawyers were apply- 
ing for the appointment, when Doctor J. B. Gaston's name was 
presented. On ascertaining that he desired the office, and re- 
membering that he had saved my life, I appointed him. He made 
an excellent judge and the people have continued him in the office. 

The Forty-eighth Alabama was reduced so low in numbers that 
I do not think it ever had present for duty thereafter at one time 
more than ioo men up to the surrender. I never commanded it 
any more ; but, in justice to Captain Wiggenton, I recommended 
and caused his promotion to the rank of major, and he com- 
manded the gallant old skeleton to the close. He was a good citi- 
zen of Cleburne County, Alabama, until his death in 1898. 

The fighting went on at the front while I was confined to the 
hospital. Every few days some of my old comrades would come 


in, wounded or sick, and invariably, when able, would visit me to 
see how I was doing. Jackson Ward, of my old company, was 
brought in shot through the bowels. On learning that he wished 
to see me, with some effort and difficulty, I walked down to his 
ward in the hospital. He was a large, tall, fine-looking young 
man, and a splendid soldier. I saw at a glance that he was mor- 
tally wounded. He desired me to telegraph his father to come to 
him. I told him that I would most willingly do so, but that can- 
dor required me to say he would never see his father again ; that 
he could live but a few hours at most. He seemed to have diffi- 
culty in realizing his situation ; but in less than three hours poor, 
brave Jack was dead. Little Davy Cannon, of my old company, 
was in the hospital slightly wounded. I sent him down town for 
a metallic burial case for the transportation of the remains of 
young Ward to his father in Alabama. I had promised him to 
do this in case of his son's death. I kept my promise and tele- 
graphed him the sad tidings. The remains of the noble, patriotic 
young man were laid in the cemetery at Abbeville, where his 
father and two younger brothers have since been laid beside him. 
While at the hospital James B. Long, a private in Company L, 
who was my brother-in-law, being the husband of my eldest sis- 
ter, was brought there very sick of camp fever — a species of ty- 
phoid or typhus fever. Though illy able to walk fifty steps, I 
went to see him and found him a very sick man. He requested 
me to telegraph his wife to come to him. I consoled him the best 
I could, and persuaded him to wait until the afternoon and see 
whether there was any change in his condition, as it would take 
her at least three days, perhaps four, in the then crowded condi- 
tion of the railroads, to come to Richmond from Alabama. I went 
to see him again late that afternoon. I saw that he was sinking 
rapidly, and told him it was quite impossible for him to last until 
his wife arrived. In fact, I saw that death was then on him. I 
sat by and held his hand while he, in a faltering voice scarcely 
above a whisper, said to me, "Don't let my wife and children suf- 
fer." I assured him I never would during the time I lived. He 
sank very rapidly, and a few minutes later expired. My house is 
his widow's home, and Doctor Ben. Long, William O. Long, 
Esq., and the wives of R. C. Granberry, of Dothan, and David 
Thurman, of Abbeville, are his children, and they can testify how 
well I have kept my promise. They were all small children when 
their father died. I took them and their mother as members of 


my household, raised and educated them chiefly with my own 
means. They are the best of people, and the satisfaction of hav- 
ing performed more than the full measure of my promise and 
their gratitude are ample rewards to me. Such is my religion. 

A Polish Jew named Coleman, who became attached to me be- 
fore the war, went into the service in the Sixth Alabama in Capt. 
A. C. Gordon's company, and after many months' service was 
discharged for physical disability. Thereafter he was sutler to 
the Fifteenth as long as I remained with that regiment. As soon 
as he heard that I was wounded he left Alabama, where he then 
was, and came to Richmond to help me home. He waited on me 
a while, but I improved so slowly that he returned home, on my 
promise to write and let him know when I would be able to travel. 
I did so, and he came for me at once. He was one of the most 
liberal, big-hearted men I ever knew. Coleman was a good fel- 
low, and I was his staunch friend. He died several years after 
the war in Eufaula, Alabama, where he was merchandising. 

After I started I found that the journey fatigued me greatly, 
and I had to, stop two days at Kingsville, South Carolina. Elijah 
W Lingo, of my old company, and one of the best men in the regi- 
ment, was going home on furlough, and he aided me greatly- 
After two days spent at Kingsville, where I received the best of 
attention from Doctor Oates, the surgeon in charge, I resumed 
my journey and reached home without suffering great pain or 

This was in the early part of November, as I now recollect. I 
met with universal sympathy from the people, which was the first 
bright lining to the dark cloud of despair which had for two or 
three months hung over me. Several times when trying to dress 
myself or to write, and a time or two when I got a fall by not being 
able to balance properly, I had felt a regret that I had not been 
killed instead of maimed ; but the kindness and sympathy of the 
people made me desire to live, and thereupon I made a virtue of 
necessity and undertook to learn to do nearly everything that a 
man with two hands could, and I succeeded so well that I became 
entirely reconciled to my misfortune, and am now like the sailor 
who fell from the masthead of the ship and broke his leg — he 
thanked God it was not his neck. When I look back at the scenes 
and perils through which I passed I feel profoundly grateful that 
I was spared to enjoy life, to encourage my old comrades in their 
-SBAap Km jo uoi}B}tiiqBip.i aq; u; pre 0} 'A"ou9:pdujoo i* aoj 3jSSn.i}s 


tated country, and to witness with pride its wonderful develop- 
ment and grand success — its rise, Phcenix-like, from its ashes. 
The capacity of the people and the elasticity of the South to sur- 
mount all obstacles reminds me of Baker's mule. Pete was the 
only animal the poor returned soldier had to plow and make a 
crop with in 1865, and he fell into a deep well. Baker tried every 
plan he could devise to get the mule out, and all of them failed. 
In despair he gave up the mule as lost and the well as ruined, and 
resolved to fill it up, thus burying Pete too deep for the resurrec- 
tion, should mules be called; so he dumped in one load of dirt 
after another until the well was full, when out jumped old Pete, 
to the surprise of everybody. He climbed upward on every dump 
by main strength, and thus did the down-trodden and conquered 
South rise above every adversity dumped upon it, until she shines 
in splendor in her meridian glory as she approaches her zenith of 
prosperity and greatness. The death of the martyrs proves to be 
the seed of the church. 



Jubal A. Early Before the War — Wounded at Williamsburg in 1862 — Opening 
of the Valley Campaign of 1864 — His Raid on Washington — He Could 
Have Captured the City — The Fight at Kernstown — He Orders the Raid 
on Chambersburg in Retaliation for Outrages Committed by the Federals 
in the Valley — The Death of Generals Rodes and Ramseur — Sheridan's 
Cruelties — Fisher's Hill — Conduct of Confederate Troops During the 

General Early* graduated at West Point United States Military 
Academy, and after serving as a lieutenant in the Regular Army 
a few years, resigned and took up the law as a profession. In the 
war with Mexico he went with the Virginia volunteers and served 
to the peace. He located in one of the counties of southwestern 
Virginia, where he practiced law and took part in politics. He 
supported Douglas for President in i860, and he was at the same 
time elected to the legislature. He opposed the secession of Vir- 
ginia and voted against the ordinance. He was a Union man; 
but when the war began he went with his people, and was made 
colonel of the Twenty-third Regiment of Virginia infantry. 
When he got thoroughly into secession and war he was one of the 
most earnest and uncompromising rebels in the entire South, and 
after the close of the war he remained unreconstructed, and cursed 
the United States Government up to the day of his death, which 
occurred about 1890. He never cared much for society — never 
married, but was quite an interesting conversationalist. He was 
a man of the highest integrity and condemned in unmeasured 
terms whatever he though was wrong, despised false pretense and 
hypocrisy. He was of the highest courage and a skilful general 
in strategy, but too slothful in execution. 

At Williamsburg, Virginia, in the spring of 1862, when the 
Army of Northern Virginia was falling back toward Richmond, 

*His name was Jubal. but his soldiers called him "Old Jube" or "Jubilee." 


Early's brigade fought Hancock's, and made it a drawn battle, 
but Early was severely wounded. As soon as he recovered enough 
to ride, even when he had to be assisted to mount, he was at his 
post in the field again. No one performed his duties more faith- 
fully. He commanded Ewell's division after the second battle 
of Manassas, and the following winter was promoted to be a 
major-general. In May, 1864, after Lieutenant-General Ewell 
was injured by his horse being killed and falling on him, Early 
commanded the Second Corps as the senior rnajor-general. 

At this time General Lee was contending with General Grant's 
immense army, and sorely needed all the troops he had. General 
Sigel, with an army of 15,000 men, was slowly moving up the 
Valley, with a view to destroying the railroad west of Lynch- 
burg, which Generals Crook and Averell, with their cavalry, had 
been prevented from doing by Gen. John H. Morgan's command. 
Gen. John C. Breckinridge, with his command, was ordered into 
the Valley, to resist Sigel's advance. Breckinridge arrived 
promptly. He had but two brigades of infantry and two bat- 
teries of artillery, in all about 3,000 men. The cadets from the 
military school at Lexington, Virginia, about 200, joined him, 
and so did the Skeleton brigade of Imboden's cavalry. At Staun- 
ton he was joined by Colonel Harmon and a few home guards, 
which were utilized to guard the wagon-train. Breckinridge 
made a rapid march and met Sigel at New Market. He was sur- 
prised at Breckinridge's arrival, fell back out of the village, and 
formed his lines to receive the attack. It was made in gallant 
style, and Sigel's troops soon gave way and made a rapid retreat 
before less than one-third their number. Breckinridge captured 
5 pieces of artillery and 500 prisoners. Sigel's loss in killed and 
wounded was greater than that of the Confederates. It was a 
great victory for Breckinridge, considering the disparity in num- 
bers. The battle was fought on the 15th day of May. Sigel re- 
treated across the Shenandoah and burned the bridge. General 
Lee ordered Breckinridge to join him with his command at Han- 
over Junction, where he arrived on the 20th. 

After General Breckinridge left the Valley, General Sigel was 
superseded by Gen. David Hunter, with additional troops. The 
only Confederates left in the Valley were the brigades of Imboden 
and W E. Jones. Hunter concentrated about Piedmont, and as 
he began to move south was met by Jones, with his brigade and 
Imboden's, and a few soldiers at home on leave, and fought Hun- 


ter's immense force. Jones was killed, and his command routed, 
which left no one to oppose Hunter. General Lee ordered Breck- 
inridge, with his division, to return at once to the Valley to check 
Hunter's advance. He promptly obeyed the order, but his divi- 
sion was only strong enough to delay Hunter, not to engage him 
in a regular battle. 

On the 13th of June General Lee sent Major-General Early, 
with the Second Corps, then numbering only between eight and 
nine thousand muskets, and two battalions of 32 pieces of artil- 
lery, to meet Hunter. They arrived at Lynchburg about the same 
time. The next morning Early prepared to attack, and Hunter, 
although he had double the number of the Confederates, declined 
battle, and precipitately retreated. A guilty conscience for his 
vandalism perhaps aided his flight. Early pursued him closely 
until after he had passed beyond Staunton in the direction of 
the Kanawha River. Early then had ten or twelve thousand men, 
and in obedience to Lee's orders marched down the Shenandoah 
Valley in the direction of Harper's Ferry. 

On the 5th and 6th days of July he crossed the Potomac, passed 
through the gaps in South Mountain, to the north of Maryland 
Heights, which were occupied. He sent a brigade of cavalry to 
cut the railroads from Baltimore to Harrisburg, between Wash- 
ington and Baltimore, and to Frederick City. His advance divis- 
ion, under Gordon, encountered Lew Wallace's division en- 
trenched on the opposite side of the Monocacy River, but after a 
lively engagement brushed that army out of the way, taking 650 
prisoners ; some six or seven hundred were killed and wounded on 
each side. The victory was a great tribute to the skill and cour- 
age of General Gordon and his division of veterans. 

Early pushed on to Washington — as those not well informed 
supposed, with the purpose of capturing it. The heat and dust 
impeded his progress, but his troops arrived there on the nth. 

General Gordon in his book (p. 314) says: 

I myself rode to a point on those breastworks at which there was no force 
whatever. The unprotected space was broad enough for the easy passage 
of Early's army without resistance. _ It is true that, as we approached, Rodes's 
division had driven in some skirmishers, and during the day (July 11) an- 
other small affair had occurred on the Seventh Street Road ; but all" the Fed- 
erals encountered on this approach could not have manned any considerable 
portion of the defenses. Undoubtedly we could have marched into Washing- 
ton; but in the council of war called by General Early there was not a dis- 
senting opinion as to the impolicy of entering the city. 


In Wilkerson's "Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Union 
Army" it is said (p. 216) : 

Toward evening General Augur drew a heavy body of troops from our thin 
defensive line and sent them out to feel of Early's men. Naturally the latter 
objected to being felt of. So they promptly killed and wounded 300 of Au- 
gur's men. These having had enough of dallying with savage-tempered and 
veteran Confederate infantry, scurried back to our entrenchments. 

On p. 219 Wilkerson says: 

Could Early have captured Washington on July n-12, 1864? I unhesi- 
tatingly answer, Yes. I supplement this by saying that he could have taken 
the city without losing more than 1,000 men. But if he had taken it, his 
poorly-clad, poorly-fed, impoverished men would inevitably have gone to 
plundering, would inevitably have gotten drunk and stayed drunk, and he 
would have lost his entire army. 

The conclusion of the author that Early's men would all have 
gotten drunk, gone to plundering, and all have been captured was 
very erroneous. It was quite true that Early was ordered only 
to threaten Washington so as to draw troops from Grant's army 
in front of Petersburg and to release the prisoners at Point Look- 
out, if practicable. He accomplished the first but not the second 
object. I cannot understand the unanimity of opinion of Early 
and his generals against capturing the Capital. They knew that 
a heavy force would be sent by Grant and that there was assemb- 
ling a large army at or near Harper's Ferry , but they might have 
captured Washington, blown up the White House,, the Capitol, 
and public buildings, and have escaped into Virginia on the 12th, 
before the arrival of the Sixth Corps, and the temptation to have 
done it, the pride and gratification it would have inspired in the 
Confederate soldiers and citizens, would have justified the risk 
of capture. 

During the night of the 12th two corps of troops from Grant's 
army arrived, manned the fortifications, and advanced the next 
morning to find that Early had retreated, and thus the opportun- 
ity of capturing Washington was lost. 

General Early retreated on the night of the 12th toward the 
Valley of Virginia, pursued by a considerable force. 

On the morning of the 14th he recrossed the Potomac in safety, 
carrying with him the prisoners taken at Monocacy, a large herd 
of cattle, and many horses. There was that day some skir- 


trashing between the cavalry of the opposing parties at the rear 
and at the crossing of the river. Federal Generals Hunter and 
Sigel united their forces at Harper's Ferry. Early retreated to 
Strasburg. A good part of the force which pursued him from 
Washington turned back to that place. Crook, with his force 
from West Virginia, united with Hunter and Sigel and Averill's 
cavalry at Kernstown, a few miles south of Winchester. 

On the 226. Early determined to attack these forces at once, and 
moved on them. After driving in their skirmishers he discovered 
that the Union left flank was exposed, and he ordered Breckin- 
ridge to take Echols's division, turn and attack it, which was done 
with great success. It threw the whole Union line into confusion 
and caused that army to retreat, which, before a vigorous pursuit, 
became a rout. His loss was light, while theirs was heavy — many 
caissons and seventy wagons were burned — and the retreat of the 
Union troops ceased only when they reached Harper's Ferry and 
Maryland Heights. 

On the 26th Early's army was encamped near Martinsburg. He 
noted the fact that General Hunter, who was more noted as an 
expert in deeds of arson than for feats of arms, had caused to be 
burned the private residences of Messrs. Boteler, Andrew Hun- 
ter, Edmund Lee, and others. Several small towns were burned 
by Union troops. Ladies had been insulted and maltreated in 
some cases. Early decided that he would open the eyes of the 
Northern people to such enormities by retaliation. Chambers- 
burg, Pennsylvania, was the most convenient point. He ordered 
General McCausland, with his brigade of cavalry, Johnson's, and 
a battery of artillery, to proceed to that place, and demand of the 
municipal authorities one hundred thousand dollars in gold, or 
five times that sum in greenbacks, as a compensation for the de- 
struction of houses of Virginians and destruction of private prop- 
erty in other towns within the Confederate States. 

On July 30th McCausland reached Chambersburg and made the 
demand. It was not complied with. The people said that they 
were not afraid of their town being burned. When Lee was 
there the year before he had private property protected, and they 
had no idea that their town would be burned, and hence they ig- 
nored Early's order. They soon found that his policy was quite 
different from Lee's of the previous year. The provocation was 
great, but with General Lee's example before him, General Early 
was wrong. Burning of private property and towns was well- 


nigh savagery, and the officer who ordered, or permitted it, no 
matter which side he was on, has ever since been condemned by a 
righteous public opinion. 

They also said that a large force of Union soldiers were coming 
and would soon relieve them. McCausland had fire set to the 
town in many places, and about two-thirds of it was laid in ashes. 
He then proceeded to Cumberland, but was prevented from giv- 
ing it similar treatment by finding a strong force there. He cap- 
tured a few prisoners, destroyed a railroad bridge, and recrossed 
the Potomac back to Virginia. General Averell pursued from 
Chambersburg, overtook and surprised Johnson's brigade, cap- 
turing the 4 pieces of artillery and about 300 prisoners. So Gen- 
eral Early's retaliatory measures failed to fructify. It was a 
good deal like Need Smith said of the Yankees at Suffolk, Va., 
where there were many days of skirmishing. It was compara- 
tively quiet on his part of the line, but another man in the com- 
pany got behind a tree, a little in advance of the line, and was ex- 
changing shots with a blue-coated sharp-shooter, when Smith said. 
"Tom, what in the Devil do you mean ?" Tom replied, "Why, I 
want to kill that Yankee sharp-shooter." Smith said, "You are a 
fool ! Don't you know that if you kill him that you will make 
some of them fellows over there mad, and they will disturb our 
rest over here all the time?" Early's policy made them mad, and 
a feeling of revenge stimulated their efforts to drive his army out 
of the Valley. It never pays to do wrong to spite some one else 
for having acted likewise. This is true of armies as well as indi- 

At once three large corps were concentrated at Harper's Ferry 
under the command of Union General Sheridan. His army, in- 
fantry and artillery, was at least 30,000 strong, with 10,000 cav- 
alry added. Early had at this time about 9,000 infantry present 
for duty, 3 battalions of artillery, something less than 50 pieces ; 
about 3,500 cavalry, or mounted men, and 2 batteries of horse 
artillery — a total of less than 15,000 of all arms, while Sheridan's 
was upwards of 40,000, or nearly three to one. Early formed 
his line of battle some two miles beyond or northeast of Winches- 
ter. Major-General Ramseur's division held the front on a plat- 
eau between Abraham's Creek and Red Bud Run, on the Berry- 
ville Road, with Nelson's artillery battalion along the line, and 
Brigadier-General Lomax, with Jackson's and Johnson's cavalry, 
on the right watching the valley of the Front Royal Road, while 

JubAL a. early and his valley campaign in '64 391 

General Fitzhugh Lee was on the left beyond the Red Bud Creek. 
These troops thus formed received Sheridan's attack and held him 
in check. About 10 o'clock A. M. Rodes's and Gordon's divis- 
ions arrived, and were concealed in the woods. Just then was 
discovered heavy bodies of troops moving, one to attack Ram- 
seur's front and the other to turn his left flank. Rodes's and 
Gordon's divisions were at once hurled against the flank of these 
columns, which proved to be the Sixth and Nineteenth corps. 
The fighting was severe. To the left flank of Gordon's division 
Evans' brigade was sent to the assistance of their Georgia breth- 
ren, and ere long these two corps of the Union army were driven 
from the field by these two divisions, at that time not numbering 
over 6,000 men. It was a nice victory, but the gallant Rodes was 
killed. It was not yet midday, and but two of Sheridan's corps 
had been engaged. He still had Crook's corps and 10,000 cavalry 
which had not been engaged. With these troops Sheridan attack- 
ed Early's left that afternoon along the Martinsburg Road. 
Early's strength had been greatly diminished by heavy losses and 
exhaustion of that morning. One of the heaviest and most 
irreparable losses was that of Major-General Rodes, the best 
general Alabama contributed to the war. His home was in Tus- 
caloosa, and he went out as colonel of the Fifth Alabama Regi- 
ment. He was an excellent officer, and won his promotion by 
meritorious conduct. He was one of the best division commanders 
in the Confederate Army. 

The attack of the afternoon was temporarily repulsed, but on 
account of Sheridan's immense cavalry, extending from the Mar- 
tinsburg Pike, three miles to the west, the Confederates, hearing 
the fighting against the advance of Sheridan's right wing, conclud- 
ed that his forces were in the rear, and the men began a hasty re- 
treat. Gordon, Breckinridge, and Echols did all they could to 
check it and aid General Early, but he had to give up Winchester. 
He formed a new line south of the town, and by vigorous use of 
the artillery Sheridan's infantry was checked until after night. 
Early, having sent, all his sick, wounded, and supplies which he 
could transport to Fisher's Hill, several miles south, he moved 
back to Newton that night, where his troops bivouacked two miles 
from Winchester. 

The next morning he fell back to Fisher's Hill. General Early 
said in his "Memoirs," after the war : "When I look back to this 
battle I can but attribute my escape from utter annihilation to the 


incapacity of my opponent." Early's losses were great, consider- 
ing the smallness of his command, but were not near so great as 
were represented by the victors, nor near so great as were their 

On the 22d of September Sheridan began an attack on Early at 
Fisher's Hill, but the latter, fully cognizant of his weakness and 
great inferiority in numbers, had resolved to retreat that night; 
but late in the afternoon Crook's corps made a vigorous assault 
upon the divisions of Ramseur and Pegram, and caused those 
divisions to retire in confusion and with considerable loss. Early 
retreated up the Valley with some skirmishing going on in the 

It has been stated in this chapter that Early supported Douglas, 
who was in favor of squatter sovereignty, for the Presidency in 
i860. Breckinridge was the Presidential candidate of the ex- 
treme Pro-slavery Democracy, who insisted on the right of the 
slave-owner to take his slave into any of the territories and own 
him there with, the protection of the Federal Government. While 
on this retreat up the Valley from Fisher's Hill, Early, Breckin- 
ridge, and one or two other generals, and several staff officers, 
were riding slowly along the pike in a drizzling rain, the guns of 
Sheridan's pursuing force heard occasionally in the rear, the gen- 
erals silent and sad at their recent defeats, when Early, raising his 
sharp voice to a rather high key, said, "Breckinridge, what do 
you think now of the right to own slaves in the territories?" 
Breckinridge laughed, shook his head, and muttered, "It looks 

Early continued his retreat to a point between North River and 
Mount Sidney. Sheridan's army encamped about Harrisonburg. 

On October 5 Early was reenforced by Kershaw's division, 
numbering 2,700 muskets; a battalion of artillery, 16 pieces; and 
Rosser's brigade of cavalry, over 600 strong. As soon as the 
Union troops discovered that reenforcements were arriving they 
retreated down the Valley. 

The next morning Early moved in pursuit and reached New 
Market on the 7th. Rosser spread out on country roads, and had 
a brush nearly every hour with small commands that were en- 
gaged in burning wheat and hay stacks, mills, barns, and occa- 
sionally a residence. In Rockingham County alone there were 
burned by Sheridan's orders, as ascertained by officials of the 
county, 30 dwelling houses, 451 barns, 31 mills, over 100,000 


bushels of wheat, 50,000 bushels of corn, 6,200 tons of hay, 100 
miles of fence, 1,750 head of cattle, 1,700 horses, 4,200 head of 
sheep, and 3,350 head of hogs taken, 3 factories and 1 iron furnace 
burned, and a vast number of reapers, mowers, and farming im- 
plements destroyed; also household furniture was in many cases 
broken up, or carried to the soldiers' camps, and several citizens 
were robbed of gold and silver whenever it could be found. When 
a protest was made by citizens to Sheridan, he is reported to have 
said that he intended "To make the Valley of Virginia so desti- 
tute of subsistence that a crow could not fly across it without car- 
rying his rations with him." Never having heard of any denial 
of the truth of this statement, nor of his responsibility for those 
savage acts of vandalism, the writer of these pages never would 
seek, nor accept, an introduction to him, not even when he was 
the ranking general of the United States Army. And when Sher^" 
idan was on his death-bed, the writer voted against a bill to pro- 
mote him before he died. The writer called for a division (he 
being at that time a member of Congress), and when appealed to 
not to press that motion, withdrew it on condition that his vote 
be recorded against the bill. Sheridan was an abfe general, but 
was brutal in his methods. The writer has learned of late years 
that Sheridan was but carrying out Grant's instructions when 
destroying private property and making the Valley desolate. 

On the 1 2th Early moved forward to Fisher's Hill. The 
Union army was on the north bank of Cedar Creek in rifle pits. 
He saw that they were too well fortified to attack in front, so he 
determined to turn one flank and attack in the rear. He sent 
Gordon at midnight, with his own, Ramseur's and Pegram's 
divisions, to turn the Federal left flank and attack before daylight, 
and Early himself would go with Kershaw's and Wharton's 
divisions and all the artillery along the pike through Strasburg, 
and attack the front and left flank as soon as Gordon became 
engaged, while his cavalry under Rosser and Wickham should 
keep the Union cavalry engaged and from getting in any work 
on the Confederate infantry; and well did they do their work. 
General Rosser performed very effective service. Gordon's 
column, it was reported, had an unavoidable delay in crossing 
the river and hence did not attack until daylight, but at both 
ends of the line Early's attack was successful. The truth is that 
General Gordon climbed to the top of the rugged Massanutten 
Mountain, where with his glasses he observed the exact situation 


of the Union army and saw that its left flank was without sup- 
port except such as was afforded by the supposed impassable 
mountain and river below. He saw that the front and left were 
strongly fortified and manned so that an attack on those parts of 
their line could not be made by Early's army with much hope of 
success ; but Gordon's keen strategical eyes saw that if he could get 
his corps across that rugged mountain unobserved by the Union 
commander that he could turn the left flank, surprise him, and 
win a great victory. He searched for a way, and the only one 
he found was a footway through the dense forest on the side of 
the mountain along which his men could march single file. He 
returned and reported to General Early, who ordered him to put 
his plan into execution, and gave the necessary orders to the other 
commanders of his army. At night General Gordon put the old 
Second Corps of veterans in motion and successfully crossed 
the mountain. Gordon denied that he was obstructed or de- 
layed in crossing, but purposely waited until early dawn to cross 
the river, which he did successfully, got completely on the Union 
flank, attacked and drove that wing of the Union army in utter 
confusion from the field. The Nineteenth and Crook's corps 
were put to flight, a number of prisoners, several pieces of 
artillery, and many stands of small arms were taken, and a large 
number of the Unionists killed or wounded, with a comparatively 
small loss to the Confederates. The Sixth Corps was in position 
on a hill to the rear, and Gordon was concentrating his artillery 
and infantry on it to drive it away from the field, or destroy it, 
which would surely have been done; but just then General Early 
arrived on that part of the field, highly elated by the success, 
and said, "Glory enough for one day," and stopped the advance. 
Generals Gordon, Evans, Ramseur, Pegram, and Colonel Carter, 
chief of the artillery, were all of the opinion that if the attack on 
the Sixth Corps then about to be put into execution had not 
been interrupted it would have been completely successful and 
it as badly routed and demoralized as the other two, and that 
Sheridan, notwithstanding his famous ride, could not have rallied 
his broken army and have returned it to the field that day. A 
great victory was spoiled by delay. Its fruits, though great, were 
lost before the setting of the sun which had risen on the blue-coats 
flying in disorder from the field before the old gray-jackets in hot 


pursuit. "Glory enough for one day!" A glorious opportunity 
was lost. 

Later in the day Sheridan returned with these corps, some 
fresh troops, rallied his numerous cavalry, and made a vigorous 
attack on Early. His cavalry swarmed on and around the flanks 
of the Confederate army and drove it from the field and far be- 
yond. It was reported by General Early that the ranks of most 
of the Confederate regiments were very thin, in consequence of 
absentees who were plundering the camps captured that morning. 
This was denied by General Gordon and other prominent officers, 
who claim that the men remained in ranks and displayed the same 
courage and high soldierly qualities as they had always thereto- 
fore, and that the disastrous defeat was attributable to General 
Early's halting the assault which was moving against the Sixth 
Corps that morning. The assaults of Sheridan's troops and the 
charges of his cavalry were repulsed several times. At length 
Evans's Georgia brigade gave way, which was followed by Gor- 
don's division. He did all he could to rally and hold them, but 
could not. The infection extended to the other divisions, and 
they gave way. Major-General Ramseur, while holding his 
ground with only a few hundred men of his division, was killed. 
He was another of the most valuable division commanders in the 
Confederate Army. The victory of Sheridan was complete. He 
recaptured all the guns his army lost in the morning, one-half 
of Early's, and took many prisoners. Early retreated to New 
Market. His losses were 23 pieces of artillery, several ordnance 
wagons, medical wagons, about 2,000 killed and wounded, and 
about 1,200 prisoners. Sheridan's loss in killed and wounded 
largely exceeded Early's, who also took and carried with him on 
his retreat 1,500 of Sheridan's men, prisoners taken in the morn- 
ing battle. Sheridan's force was greatly superior to Early's, es- 
pecially in cavalry. In that branch it was more than three times 
as great. General Rosser, commanding the Confederate cavalry, 
greatly distinguished himself and troopers by their efficiency. 

In November, after a good part of Sheridan's army had been 
sent to Grant, Early again advanced to the point of Cedar Creek, 
from which he had previously been driven, and there confronted 
Sheridan for two days; but the latter made no effort to attack 
him, and then retired slowly up the Valley again. This was 
practically the end of the Valley campaign, except some raids and 
considerable captures made by General Rosser. 


The skeleton regiments of the Second Corps, under Gordon, 
were sent back to Lee at Petersburg, where they continued to the 
close at Appomattox the next spring. No better soldiers ever 
went into battle than they were. 

The conduct of the Confederate troops at Winchester, at Fish- 
er's Hill, and again at Cedar Creek, was as praiseworthy as on 
other occasions. Their experience was so great, they had been 
in so many battles, that many of them thought they knew when 
their position was precarious as well as their commanders, and no 
troops are so daring or hard to break when in despair of success 
as when their hopes are high. Evans's brigade was Gordon's old 
brigade of six Georgia regiments, and under his immediate com- 
mand never gave way in an engagement, nor could it be driven 
from its position. But the ranks in all the regiments were then 
so attenuated that when so overwhelmingly outnumbered they 
were more easily demoralized than formerly. The soldiers 
everywhere saw the Confederacy was bound to fall long before the 
officers would admit it. 



A Wag's Allusion to the Two Hills — A Comparison of the Two — D. H.'s Ec- 
centricities — He Censures General Bragg and Offends Davis — A. P. and 
His "Light Division" — Killed at Petersburg — The Highest Compliment 
Ever Paid Him That of the Last Words of Jackson and Lee. 

Some wag wrote in a Richmond paper, in 1862, in reply to a 
prediction that General McClellan with his powerful army would 
soon be in Richmond, "That he would have to make Lee-way, 
travel a Longstreet, and cross two Hills before he got there," 
which he never would do. 

The Generals Hill had such a conspicuous part in the war that 
any account of the hard fighting around that capital which omit- 
ted special mention of them would be incomplete. 

Daniel H. Hill was born in South Carolina July 12, 1821, and 
graduated at West Point in 1842. 

Ambrose Powell Hill was born in Virginia November 9, 1825, 
and graduated at West Point in 1847. 

They each served in the Regular Army and had good standing 
therein. D. H. Hill resided in North Carolina when the war be- 
gan, and he went into it as colonel of the First North Carolina In- 
fantry ; and won his first distinction in a small battle between his 
regiment and about an equal force at Big Bethel Church. He 
was thereafter sometimes called "Big Bethel Hill." 

A. P Hill entered the Confederate service as colonel of the 
Thirteenth Virginia infantry. They were each promoted through 
all the intermediate grades up to that of lieutenant-general. When 
they reached the rank of major-general and were assigned to the 
command of divisions, D. H. had five brigades and A. P six, and 
his was called "The Light Division." I never knew why, unless 
because it was the heaviest division in the army. 

D. H. Hill's brigades were large and his division a fine one. 

The Hills were not related, nor rivals in any sense, but they 
were equally brave and hard fighters. 


While D. H. fought as hard and his troops seemed to have been 
as good, and usually as skilfully put into action as A. P 's troops, 
yet the latter's efforts were more fruitful in good results. It was 
not fate ; there was a cause. It must have been because the for- 
mer was less considerate, rash, and more irritable than the latter. 

D. H. Hill was a very eccentric man. When a certain number 
of men from his command, by order of the commanding general 
were to be granted furloughs to visit their homes, a member of a 
band was one of the fortunate ones who had in the lottery won 
a furlough. His papers stated that he was a faithful musician. 
General Hill endorsed upon it, "Disapproved; shooters preferred 
to footers." 

When a man made an application for furlough who had a wife 
and had not seen her in nearly three years, his company and regi- 
mental commanders commended him highly, stating that he was 
a fine soldier and had been present and most efficient in every bat- 
tle. His brigadier forwarded his application, but disapproved it, 
on the ground that so good a soldier could not be spared for thirty 
days. When it reached General Hill he wrote on it : "If such 
men as this are not allowed to visit their homes sometimes, all the 
children born during the war will be the children of cowards. Re- 
spectfully forwarded, approved." 

When he was in command in North Carolina and had General 
Foster cooped up in the little town of Washington with his com- 
mand entirely surrounded, and the river blockaded with a Whit- 
worth cannon, Foster, who had allowed his troops to commit 
many depredations upon the homes and property of the citizens 
thereabout, sent a flag of truce to Hill to know upon what terms 
he could surrender. It is said that Hill replied at once, saying : 
"The officers and men under your command will be treated as 
prisoners of war, but you will be castrated." 

That night Foster went down the river in a boat. They burst 
the Whitworth firing at it, which raised the blockade, and the 
Union troops escaped capture. 

He commanded a corps at the battle of Chickamauga and cen- 
sured General Bragg very severely for not vigorously following 
up his victory, and then eot up a petition to have Bragg removed 
from the command, which offended President Davis, and he re- 
lieved Hill from his command, thereby terminating his active 
connection with the war, except in North Carolina just before 
Johnson's surrender. He died about fifteen years after the peace. 


A. P Hill continued in the Virginia army After Jackson's 
death Lee reorganized his army, dividing it into three corps, and 
Hill was given command of the Third Corps. His "Light Di- 
vision" was in Jackson's corps up to his death, and in the reorgan- 
ization was broken up. 

He was one of the ablest and most reliable division command- 
ers and a very efficient corps commander. He was always ready 
to fight, and made his greatest error in bringing on the great bat- 
tle of Gettysburg at that place without orders and without con- 
sulting his chief. He acted prematurely, and caused the battle 
to be fought at a place not chosen or desired by Lee. 

On the 2d day of April, in the last fighting which occurred 
around Petersburg, he was killed. The highest compliment paid 
to his efficiency and reliability was that a command to him were 
the last words uttered by Jackson and by Lee. In the delirium 
of death in Jackson's wandering mind he was about to engage in 
a great battle, and said, "Tell A. P Hill to prepare for action." 

The last words uttered by the great Robert E. Lee were, "Tell 
Hill he must come up." 

This showed how implicitly these two great commanders re- 
lied upon their best lieutenant, A. P Hill. 

It is not unusual for one who has been a great actor in the most 
momentous scenes of life in the last moments to be mentally pass- 
ing through them again. Napoleon was the greatest captain of 
the age in which he lived. When dying in exile at St. Helena 
his last sentence was, "Tete d'armee" (at the head of the army). 
A moment still, then he shouted "Josephine," and sprang off the 
bed to catch her in his arms, and breathed no more. She had 
been dead many years. 



Hood Graduated from West Point — His Rapid Rise From Captain to Full 
General — Loses a Leg at Chickamauga — Made Lieutenant-General — In 
Command of Army of Tennessee, Succeeding Gen. Joseph E. Johnston — 
The Struggle Before Atlanta — Handicapped by Lukewarmness and In- 
competency of Some of His Generals — Correspondence Between Hood 
and Sherman — Protest of Mayor of Atlanta — Davis's Palmetto Speech — 
Hood's Disappointment at Spring Hill and His Bitter Complaint 
Thereat — The Battle at Franklin — The Campaign to the Alabama Line — 
Relieved From Duty With the Army of Tennessee — His Last Service and 
Surrender — After the War. 

In a previous chapter we suspended the narration of the move- 
ments of the Army of Tennessee with the removal of General 
Johnston and the installation of Hood as its commander on July 
1 8, 1864. 

General Hood was born in Kentucky in 1832, and entered the 
United States Military Academy at West Point in 1849, when 
seventeen years old. He graduated in 1853 in the same class 
with Sheridan, McPherson, and Schofield. He continued in the 
Regular Army until secession, when he resigned. He entered 
the Confederate Army as a captain of cavalry in the army of Gen- 
eral Magruder on the Peninsula near the James River, Virginia. 
His promptness in the obedience of orders and his efficiency in 
drill and discipline secured his rapid promotion. He was soon 
appointed colonel of the Fourth Texas infantry. 

During the winter of 1861-62 he drilled and disciplined it until 
he made it one of the finest regiments in the army. Early in 1862 
he was made a brigadier-general and assigned to the command of 
the Texas Brigade. He had adopted that State as his home, which 
made his assignment to the command of that brigade altogether 
appropriate. He did such splendid fighting with it during the 
summer of 1862 that it won a fine reputation for itself and its 
commander. In the latter part of that year he was given a di- 
vision and made a major-general. At Gettysburg his division 


was nearly 9,000 strong. In that great battle Hood lost one of 
the bones of his left forearm. In September, before he was well, 
he commanded all of Longstreet's corps that had arrived and was 
in action in the battle of Chickamauga. In this battle he lost one 
of his legs, which disabled him for many months. 

In the spring of 1864, having been made a lieutenant-general, 
he was assigned to the command of a corps in the Army of Ten- 
nessee. He was singularly devoted to duty ; was always present, 
and exposed himself recklessly in time of battle. He was prompt 
in the obedience of orders and generally too ready to fight, need- 
ing to be curbed in his impetuosity. He was a man of many 
noble traits of character. He loved the soldier who did his duty. 
The writer was personally acquainted with him and served in his 
division during the year 1863. In May of that year I had been 
commanding the Fifteenth Alabama Regiment since in the fall of 
1862. I was the second captain in rank in the regiment. The 
field officers were absent sick, and Hood, with General Law's rec- 
ommendation, had me appointed a colonel in the Provisional 
Army, and assigned to the command of the regiment as such, for 
which act I was grateful. 

When General Johnston was removed from command of the 
Army of Tennessee, Hood was made a full general and assigned 
to the command of it. It is a piece of unwritten history, called 
rumor, that Mr. Davis offered the command of that army to 
Lieutenant-General Hardee, but I cannot find any record of it. 
He was worthy of such confidence according to his conduct up to 
that time. It is said that he replied to Mr. Davis that if General 
Johnston could not command that army skilfully and success- 
fully, he could not, and declined the honor. Hood says in his 
book, 'Advance and Retreat" (p. 162) : 

The senior corps commander considered he had been supplanted through 
my promotion, and thereupon determined to resign, in consequence, I have no 
doubt, of my application to President Davis to postpone the order transferring 
to me the command of the army; he [Hardee] however altered his decision, 
and concluded to remain with his corps. 

From Hardee's subsequent conduct as reported I do not believe 
Mr. Davis ever offered him the command of that army If Hood 
and Lieut-Gen. A. P. Stewart are to be believed, and there is no 
reason to doubt their statements made in official reports of the 
battles of July 20th and 22d, Hardee's heart was not in either 
action, and he wholly failed to give Hood prompt obedience, and 



signally failed in the performance of his duty. He did not attack 
the enemy in their exposed position on the 20th until 4 o'clock P 
M., although ordered to attack at 1 o'clock, most vigorously, and 
to carry everything before him. General Hood said officially that 
Hardee's attack was no greater than could have been made with a 
skirmish line, notwithstanding his corps was the largest and best 
in the army. 

Human nature is the same the world over, with a few rare ex- 
ceptions. Hood complains that General Johnston, after he was 
relieved from command, did not disclose to him the situation of 
his forces nor those of Sherman. He admits that Johnston re- 
mained during the 18th of July and sent orders in his name, and 
indicated that he would remain longer and aid with his advice, 
which was earnestly solicited ; but without notice to him Johnston 
left on the night of the 18th, when the Yankees were within six 
miles of Atlanta. 

Johnston was soured by his removal and his patriotism was not 
broad enough to induce him to remain and aid Hood to win a 
battle for the Confederacy which would immortalize Hood and 
vindicate the wisdom of the President in removing him from 

Hardee felt humiliated by having Hood, whom he ranked, pro- 
moted over him. He did not look upon Hood in any sense as 
being his superior, and notwithstanding his devotion to- the Con- 
federate cause he failed to make his usually vigorous onslaught 
upon the enemy in obedience to Hood's order. He was dilatory 
and half-hearted. He never questioned the wisdom of Hood's 
order ; he did not want to confide in his wisdom ; and hence in 
lieu of his former dash and effectiveness he substituted inertia, or 
at least dilatoriness, and thus lost the opportunity of dealing a 
crushing blow and the probability of a victory for Hood and the 

Wounded pride — offended human nature — is stronger than 
love of country, for which men are willing to die, except in very 
rare instances. Of all the great Confederate generals, Albert 
Sidney Johnston and Robert E. Lee are perhaps the only two who 
possessed so much unselfish patriotism, Christian spirit, and no- 
bleness of soul as to have endured wounded pride, offended dig- 
nity, and degradation of rank, and even then would not have 
neglected an opportunity to aid their stricken and bleeding coun- 
try. Gen. Joseph E. Johnson never could have soared to such 
a height. He was not constituted that way. He was too 


hot-headed and irascible, and experienced great difficulty in sup- 
pressing his combativeness and holding his tongue; his early 
training alone enabled him to do that. General Hardee had so 
much of the same disposition that its influence on his course threw 
a cloud for a time on that splendid reputation he had made as a 
corps commander 

On the 22d the situation of Sherman's army had not materially 
changed from what it was on the 20th. Some portions of it had 
advanced a little nearer to Atlanta. 

On the evening of the 21st General Hood called together each 
of his corps commanders, Gen. G. W Smith, of the Georgia State 
troops, and Gen. Joe Wheeler, his chief of cavalry, and gave to 
them specific instructions, and they all put their troops that night 
in the positions indicated, except Hardee, who was ordered to cut 
loose from the army and with his corps to march around McPher- 
son's left, even if he had to go beyond Decatur, six miles from 
Atlanta, and into the rear of the Union line, and to attack at day- 
light or as soon thereafter as practicable. Wheeler was ordered 
to keep on Hardee's right and attack with him. No one criticised 
the plan or suggested alteration. It was a good plan, and was 
similar to Jackson's flank movement of Hooker's army at Chan- 
cellorsville which was so successful. Guides from Wheeler's 
cavalry, who knew every feature of the ground, were sent with 
Hardee. As he drove the Union line from right to left, Cheat- 
ham's right would join in driving them down and back upon 
Peachtree Creek ; and as soon as Cheatham's line became engaged 
in the swing and was driving the Federals across his front, Gen. 
G. W Smith would join in the advance, while General Stewart's 
corps on the left held Federal General Thomas's army from coming 
to the assistance of McPherson and Schofield. At daylight on the 
22d Stewart, Smith, and Cheatham were in position behind rifle 
pits which they had thrown up during the night. Nothing was 
heard from Hardee until about 10 o'clock A. M., when skirmish- 
ing was heard going on directly opposite the Union left, which 
was in front of Cheatham's right and General Shoup's artillery. 
One of the divisions of Hardee's corps was marching against and 
attacking squarely in front the left of the Union line, which was 
refused, or bent back, a considerable distance to protect McPher- 
son's left. Hardee, instead of obeying the order to pass clear 
around the Union left and to attack at daylight, or soon there- 
after, in the rear, had only gotten on the flank, waited until 10 
o'clock A. M., and was then only skirmishing in front of a forti- 


fied line which it had been intended that he should completely 
turn and attack in the rear, as the fire of his field artillery then in- 
dicated. Hardee, instead of turning McPherson's flank and strik- 
ing in the rear, with victory completely in his grasp had he gone 
on a little farther, had attacked his enemy's entrenched flank, by 
which he lost many men to no purpose. Hardee's troops, though 
put into action disadvantageously and differently from what was 
intended and ordered by General Hood, fought bravely, captured 
several breastworks, took 8 guns, 13 stands of colors, and retained 
their position in front of the enemy Cheatham's corps made a 
front attack in support of Hardee, fought gallantly, captured 5 
pieces of artillery and 6 stands of colors, but lost heavily in assail- 
ing entrenched positions. So the failure of General Hardee to at- 
tack as ordered had rendered Hood's plan abortive, no substantial 
good was accomplished, and many good men were killed or 

A bad plan of battle well executed is infinitely better than the 
wisest plan imperfectly or abortively executed. The turning 
movement in this case seems to have been perfectly practicable. 
From six to eight miles to march, with no obstruction and good 
guides; whereas at Chancellorsville Stonewall Jackson had to 
march sixteen miles along dim roads and tangled wildwoods, but 
he reached the rear of his enemy, and Hardee failed. He did 
not go far enough, and was too slow about it. Celerity of move- 
ment wins battles and renown for generals, while slothfulness 
and inattention to orders lose battles and empires. 

A great opportunity on the 20th and another on the 226. — lost 
opportunities, which of course bore legitimate fruit. 

Just preceding the second battle of Manassas, Jackson swung 
from the larger body of Lee's army, turned the flank of the Union 
army under General Pope, and went to his rear; it undid Pope 
and drove him from Virginia, but there was but one Stonewall 
Jackson, on either side, in the Confederate War. Hood's plans 
were faultless, but badly executed. 

General Hood in his book (p. 186) says : 

While General Hardee had perhaps no superior as a corps commander 
during retreat in presence of the enemy, or in defensive operations, he was 
wanting in that boldness requisite for offensive warfare. 

Soon after Sherman learned of the change of Confederate com- 
manders, he states in his "Memoirs" (Vol. II, pp. 74, 75), a con- 


versation between him and General McPherson occurred as fol- 

McPherson had been of the same class at West Point with Hood, Scho- 
field, and Sheridan. We agreed that we ought to be unusually cautious and 
prepared at all times for sallies and for hard fighting, because Hood, though 
not deemed much of a scholar, or of great mental capacity, was undoubtedly 
a brave, determined, and rash man ; and the change of commanders at that 
particular crisis argued the displeasure of the Confederate Government with 
the cautious but prudent conduct of Gen. Joe Johnston. 

Which shows what he thought of Hood and Johnston as gen- 

On the 22d General McPherson was killed. Of him General 
Hood said : 

No soldier fell in the enemy's ranks whose loss caused me equal regret. 
Although in the same class, I was several years his junior, and, unlike him, 
was more wedded to boyish sports than to books. Often, when we were ca- 
dets, have I left barracks at night to participate in some merry-making, and 
early the following morning have had recourse to him to help me over the 
difficult portions of my studies for the day. 

Maj.-Gen. Frank P Blair, who commanded a corps in Sher- 
man's army during the campaign against Atlanta, after the war 
said of Johnston and Hood : 

I cannot help expressing regret that any misunderstanding should have 
occurred between two such gallant officers as General Hood and General 
Johnston, and their friends. Both of them were most meritorious officers and 
commanded the respect and admiration of their enemies. The great fault of 
both was that they did not have men enough to contend with Sherman's army. 

No pitched battles were fought, but daily skirmishing contin- 
ued near Atlanta during the greater part of August. The artil- 
lery firing was at times heavy, and many shells and rifle balls fired 
by the infantry skirmishers fell in the streets and sometimes pene- 
trated houses. Sherman extended the bulk of his army gradually 
southward, keeping his back to the Chattahoochee River and forti- 
fying as he extended his right, slowly reaching out for the West 
Point and Macon Railroad. All along during the month nothing 
much more than the usual skirmishing occurred, except that on the 
6th heavy assaults were made on General Bate's division, which 
was handsomely repulsed with a loss to the Unionists of about 800 
killed and wounded. 


On the 7th General Cleburne's division was transferred to the 
extreme left, and on the 9th the position of that intrepid general 
and his fine fighting division awakened an apprehension in the be- 
siegers, and the day was made memorable by the most furious and 
long-continued cannonade on the position of that division and the 
neighborhood that Atlanta experienced during the siege of forty 
days. Women and children sought refuge in cellars and every- 
where which seemed to afford them any protection, in which they 
remained until night. 

In the latter part of the month Hood moved the greater part of 
his army by its left flank southward to East Point and on the 
Rough and Ready Road, and toward Jonesboro, conforming 
somewhat to Sherman's extended line. 

On the 19th General Kilpatrick, with his cavalry, reached the 
Macon Railway, and began tearing it up, but Gen. W H. Jack- 
son, with his division of Confederate cavalry, soon engaged and 
drove him away. 

On the 22d Jackson attacked and drove away a brigade of Fed- 
eral cavalry from tearing up the Augusta Railroad. 

On the morning of the 30th Hardee's corps was in line in the 
vicinity of Rough and Ready, and Lee's corps on his right near 
East Point. Brig.-Gen. Frank Armstrong, who was in close ob- 
servation of Sherman's movements, reported to Hood soon after- 
wards that at 6 P M. a corps crossed Flint River, near Jonesboro, 
and made an attack upon Lewis's Kentucky brigade, and was re- 
pulsed. This indicated a battle. Hood at once ordered Hardee 
to move rapidly to Jonesboro that night and that Lee's corps 
would follow, and early the next morning to attack Sherman with 
both corps at Jonesboro and drive all the enemy who had crossed 
back into the river in their rear, which could be done only by at- 
tacking early in the morning of the 21st before another corps of 
Sherman's troops crossed. If successful, that night Lee's corps 
was to withdraw back to Rough and Ready and Stewart's corps 
and Smith's troops were to form on his right at East Point, and 
the whole force on the morning of September 1st to move forward 
and drive him down the Flint River and the West Point Railroad, 
the cavalry to hold in check the corps at the railroad bridge across 
the Chattahoochee River near the mouth of Peachtree Creek, 
whilst Hardee advanced from his position near Jonesboro, and on 
Lee's left. Hood tried to impress it upon his corps commanders, 
and especially upon General Hardee, that the fate of Atlanta 


rested upon his ability and celerity of movement as the ranking 
corps commander ; that he ( Hood ) would leave it to him to exe- 
cute the plan successfully. Hood also told him that in the event 
he from any cause failed, to send Lee's corps at dark of the 31st 
to take position at Rough and Ready, in order to protect the re- 
treat of the army to Lovejoy Station; because if his enterprise 
failed Atlanta would surrender the next day. 

Hardee failed to make the attack until 2 o'clock P M., when it 
was too late, and after Sherman had a strong force to confront 
him. He therefore failed to dislodge his enemy General Lee 
expressed the opinion that if the attack had been made early in 
the forenoon it would have succeeded in driving the Union troops 
back across the river. The loss in the two corps was 1,400 in 
killed and wounded, which was not a heavy loss for the number 
engaged. So Lieut.-Gen. W J. Hardee by his sloth and inactiv- 
ity disobeyed Hood's orders, which showed that he was not 
adapted to, nor qualified for, aggressive campaigns. His failures 
under Hood greatly impaired the brilliant reputation he had won 
before he entered upon that campaign. Soon after he was taken 
from his corps and assigned to command the department of South 

At 5 o'clock P M., September 1, 1863, Hood marched his 
troops out of Atlanta and left it for Sherman to take possession, 
which he did at once, and telegraphed his triumph to Washington 
through Grant. 

After the surrender of Atlanta Hood desired at once to swing 
around by the west northward and operate to the rear of Sher- 
man, but at Andersonville, between Macon, Georgia, and Eufaula, 
Alabama, were 34,000 Union prisoners, and Hood had to keep 
between Sherman and them until they were removed to another 

Contrary to the rule observed by the Federal Government, im- 
mediately after the fall of Atlanta Sherman exchanged with Hood 
2,000 prisoners. 

Several weeks before the fall of Atlanta Hood ordered Wheeler 
with 4,500 of his cavalry to destroy the railroads and depots of 
supplies in Sherman's rear, hoping thereby to force him to re- 
treat. He also caused the War Department to order Forrest to 
destroy the roads and supplies between Chattanooga and Nash- 
ville and also the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Wheeler 
and Forrest each did splendid work; but Sherman marched 
through Georgia, just as Forrest predicted. 


On the 7th day of September Sherman sent to Hood a written 
statement, saying : 

I have deemed it to the interest of the United States that the citizens now 
residing in Atlanta should remove; those who prefer, to go South, and the 
rest North. 

Then he proceeded to suggest the method of their removal. 
Hood replied, saying that he had no alternative, and complied so 
far as sending an officer and a guard and all the wagons he could 
spare to Rough and Ready to aid the poor people when expelled 
from their homes, and concluded thus : 

And now, sir, permit me to say that the unprecedented measure you pro- 
pose transcends, in studied and ingenious cruelty, all acts ever before brought 
to my attention in the dark history of war. 

In the name of God and humanity, I protest, believing that you will find 
that you are expelling from their homes and firesides the wives and children 
of a brave people. 

I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. B. Hood, 

Sherman replied, and in part said : 

In the name of common sense, I ask you not to appeal to a just God in 
such a sacrilegious manner. You who, in the midst of peace and prosperity 
have plunged a nation into war — dark and cruel war ; who dared and badgered 
us to battle, insulted our flag, seized our arsenals and forts that were left in 
the honorable custody of peaceful ordnance sergeants, seized and made "pris- 
oners of war" the very garrison sent to protect your people against negroes 
and Indians, long before any overt act was committed by the (to you) hated 
Lincoln Government ; tried to force Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion, in 
spite of themselves ; falsified the vote of Louisiana ; turned loose your priva- 
teers to plunder unarmed ships; expelled Union families by the thousands, 
burned their houses, and declared, by an act of your Congress, the confisca- 
tion of all debts due Northern men for goods had and received ! Talk thus 
to the marines, but not to me, who have seen these things, and who will this 
day make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as the best- 
born Southerner among you ! If we must be enemies, let us be men, and fight 
it out as we propose to do and not deal in such hypocritical appeals to God 
and humanity. God will judge us in good time, and he will pronounce whether 
it be humane to fight with a town full of women and the families of the brave 
people at our back, or to remove them in time to places of safety among their 
own friends and people. 

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

W T. Sherman, 
Major-General Commanding. 


On the 1 2th General Hood again wrote General Sherman, say- 
ing that he saw nothing in his reply which induced a change of 
the language formerly employed as to the cruelty of expelling 
women and children from their homes, and then said that he was 
but a general commanding a Confederate army and had nothing 
to do with political questions, the discussion of which his letter in- 
vited, but he would reply, lest his silence might be misconstrued, 
and then wrote : 

You charge my country with "daring and badgering you to battle." The 
truth is, we sent commissioners to you, respectfully offering a peaceful separa- 
tion, before the first gun was fired on either side. You say we insulted your 
flag. The truth is, we fired upon it, and those who fought under it, when you 
came to our doors upon the mission of subjugation. You say we seized upon 
forts and arsenals and made prisoners of the garrisons sent to protect us 
against negroes and Indians. The truth is, we, by force of arms, drove out 
insolent intruders and took possession of our own forts and arsenals, to resist 
your claims to dominion over masters, slaves, and Indians, all of whom are to 
this day, with a unanimity unexampled in the history of the world, warring 
against your attempts to become their masters. You say that we tried to force 
Kentucky and Missouri into rebellion in spite of themselves. The truth is, 
my Government, from the beginning of this struggle to this hour, has again 
and again offered, before the whole world, to leave it to the unbiased will of 
these States, and all others, to determine for themselves whether they will 
cast their destiny with your Government or ours ; and your Government has 
resisted this fundamental principle of free institutions, with the bayonet, and 
labors daily, by force and fraud, to fasten its hateful tyranny upon the un- 
fortunate freemen of these States. You say we falsified the vote of Louis- 
iana. The truth is, Louisiana not only separated herself from your Govern- 
ment by nearly a unanimous vote of her people, but has vindicated the act 
upon every battle-field from Gettysburg to the Sabine, and has exhibited an 
heroic devotion to her decision which challenges the admiration and respect 
of every man capable of feeling sympathy for the oppressed or admiration for 
heroic valor. You say that we turned loose pirates to plunder your unarmed 
ships. The truth is, when you robbed us of our part of the navy, we built 
and bought a few vessels, hoisted the flag of our country, and swept the seas, 
in defiance of your navy, around the whole circumference of the globe. You 
say we have expelled Union families by thousands. The truth is, not a single 
family has been expelled from the Confederate States, that I am aware of; 
but, on the contrary, the moderation of our Government toward traitors has 
been a fruitful theme of denunciation by its enemies and well-meaning friends 
of our cause. You say my Government, by acts of Congress, has confiscated 
"all debts due Northern men for goods sold and delivered." The truth is, 
our Congress gave due and ample time to your merchants and traders to de- 
part from our shores with their ships, goods, and effects, and only seques- 
trated the property of our enemies in retaliation for their acts — declaring us 
traitors, and confiscating our property wherever their power extended, either 
in their country or our own. Such are your accusations, and such are the 
facts known of all men to be true. 

You order into exile the whole population of a city ; drive men, women, and 
children from their homes at the point of the bayonet, under the plea that it is 
to the interest of your Government, and on the claim that it is an act of 
"kindness to these families of Atlanta." Butler only banished from New Or- 


leans the registered enemies of his Government, and acknowledged that he did 
it as a punishment. You issue a sweeping edict, covering all the inhabitants 
of a city, and add insult to the injury heaped upon the defenseless by assuming 
that you have done them a kindness. This you follow by the assertion that 
you "will make as much sacrifice for the peace and honor of the South as 
the best-born Southerner." And, because I characterize what you call a kind- 
ness as being real cruelty, you presume to sit in judgment between me and 
my God ; and you decide that my honest prayer to the Almighty Father to save 
our women and children from what you call kindness, is a "sacrilegious, hypo- 
critical appeal." 

You came into our country with your army, avowedly for the purpose of 
subjugating free white men, women, and children, and not only intend to rule 
over them, but you make negroes your allies, and desire to place over us an 
inferior race, which we have raised from barbarism to its present position, 
which is the highest ever attained by that race, in any country, in all time. I 
must, therefore, decline to accept your statements in reference to your kind- 
ness toward the people of Atlanta, and your willingness to sacrifice every- 
thing for the peace and honor of the South, and refuse to be governed by 
your decision in regard to matters between myself, my country, and my God. 

You say, "Let us fight it out like men." To this I reply — for myself, and 
I believe for all the true men, aye, and women and children, in my country — 
we will fight you to the death ! Better die a thousand deaths than submit to 
live under you or your Government and your negro allies ! 

Having answered the points forced upon me by your letter of the 9th of 
September, I close this correspondence with you ; and, notwithstanding your 
comments upon my appeal to God in the cause of humanity, I again humbly 
and reverently invoke His Almighty aid in defense of justice and right. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

J. B. Hood, 

The foregoing practically closed the correspondence between 
Hood and Sherman. 

On September 1 1 Mayor Calhoun and two of the councilmen 
addressed an appeal to Sherman in the following language : 

At first view it struck us that the measure would involve extraordinary 
hardship and loss, but since we have seen the practical execution of it, so far 
as it has progressed, and the individual condition of the people, and heard 
their statements as to the inconvenience, loss, and suffering attending it, we 
are satisfied that the amount of it will involve in the aggregate consequences 
appalling and heart-rending. 

Many poor women are in advanced state of pregnancy, others, now hav- 
ing children, and whose husbands, for the greater part, are either in the army, 
prisoners, or dead. 

Some say, "I have such a one sick at my house ; who will wait on them 
when I am gone?" Others say, "What are we to do? We have no house to 
go to, and no means to buy, build, or rent any; no parents, relatives, or friends 
to go to." Another says, "I will try and take this or that article of property, 
but such and such things I must leave behind, though I need them much." 
We reply to them, "General Sherman will carry your property to Rough and 
Ready, and General Hood will take it thence on." And they will reply to 


that, "But I want to leave the railroad at such a place, and cannot get con- 
veyance from there on." 

We only refer to a few facts to try to illustrate in part how this measure 
will operate in practice. As you advanced, the people north of this fell back, 
and before your arrival here, a large portion of the people had retired south ; 
so that the country south of this is already crowded and without houses 
enough to accommodate the people, and we are informed that many are now 
staying in churches and out-buildings. 

This being so, how is it possible for the people still here (mostly women 
and children) to find shelter? And how can they live through the winter in 
the woods — no shelter or subsistence, in the midst of strangers who know 
them not, and without the power to assist them much if they were willing 
to do so. 

This is but a feeble picture of the consequences of this measure. You 
know the woe, the horrors, and the sufferings cannot be described by words ; 
imagination can only conceive it, and we ask you to take these things into 

We know your mind and time are constantly occupied with the duties of 
your command, which almost deters us from asking your attention to this 
matter, but thought it might be that you had not considered this subject in all 
of its awful consequences, and that on more reflection you, we hope, would 
not make this people an exception to all mankind ; for we know of no such 
instance ever having occurred — surely never in the United States — and what 
has this helpless people done that they should be driven from their homes, to 
wander strangers, and outcasts, and exiles, and to subsist on charity? 

We know not as yet the number of people still here ; of those who are 
here, we are satisfied a respectable number, if allowed to remain at home, 
could subsist for several months without assistance, and a respectable num- 
ber for a much longer time, and who might not need assistance at any time. 

In conclusion, we most earnestly and solemnly petition you to reconsider 
this order, or modify it, and suffer this unfortunate people to remain at home 
and enjoy what little means they have. 

Respectfully submitted, 

James M. Calhoun, Mayor. 
E. E. Rawson, Councilman. 
S. C. Wells, Councilman. 

This feeling appeal had no effect on him. He pretended that 
his act was humane ; that citizens should not be within Atlanta in 
case of a battle. He knew that there would not be any battle, that 
the Confederates would not attempt to recapture it. 

The true explanation of his object in expelling the citizens from 
Atlanta was given in his "Memoirs," when describing his evacu- 
ation, as follows : 

About 7 A. M. on November 16 we rode out of Atlanta by the Decatur 
road, filled by the marching troops and wagons of the Fourteenth corps ; and 
reaching the hill outside of the old rebel works, we naturally paused to look 
back upon the scenes of our past battles. We stood upon the very ground 
whereon was fought the bloody battle of July 22d, and could see the copse of 
woods where McPherson fell. Behind us lay Atlanta, smouldering and in 
ruins, the black smoke rising high in the air, and hanging like a pall over the 
ruined city. 


Sherman then began his destructive march through Georgia 
and the Carolinas, of which more will be said hereafter. 

After the surrender of Atlanta General Hood scarcely knew 
what to do. From Lovejoy Station he telegraphed President 
Davis and had Hardee do the same, that unless their army was 
speedily and heavily reenforced Georgia and Alabama would be 
overrun by the Union forces. 

On September 5 Davis replied that every effort had theretofore 
been made to send reenforcements and that "no other resources 
remained," and that the only chance was that "absentees be 
brought back and made available." It was then plain to those 
in position to know that the Confederacy was beaten and rapidly 
tottering to its downfall. Absentees from the armies without 
leave and deserters were numerous, and could not be induced to 
return. President Davis was leaning for support on a broken 
reed when he expected a generous return to the ranks of those men 
in obedience to his proclamations and efforts of amnesty and par- 
don. Those men did not return ; they were whipped ; they had 
enough of it. They were like the soldier who was going to the 
rear during the battle and was stopped by the provost guard ; the 
captain, seeing no wound upon him, told him that he was not hurt 
and must return to his regiment, which was then under a heavy 
fire. The soldier objected strenuously to being returned to the 
fight, and said, "Cap'n, the truth is, that I got stung by a bung 
and am demoralized." 

But the brave and patriotic souls who remained in ranks with 
guns in hand, still ready to die for the cause of Southern inde- 
pendence, presented, in contrast with the timid, one of the grandest 
examples of heroism and devotion to principle ever found in t